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Building capacities, building peace: UNMISS trains 25 South Sudanese police officers on investigative techniques

Some 25 police officers from the South Sudan National Police Service benefited from an intensive, three-day capacity-building workshop run by UNPOL officers serving with UNMISS. Photo by James Mawien Manyuol/UNMISS.

LAKES – As South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, transitions from war to peace, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) continues all efforts to build capacities among local law enforcement personnel.

Recently, in Rumbek, Lakes state, United Nations Police (UNPOL) officers serving with the peacekeeping mission conducted a three-day workshop for 25 local counterparts.

The focus of the training: Ensuring police officers are equipped with the necessary skills and techniques to investigate crimes thoroughly, prepare accurate case notes and are well-versed with court procedures.

Other key areas that were discussed included interview techniques as well as upholding the rights of suspects.

David Manzi, UNPOL Field Office Coordinator, urged participating officers from the South Sudan National Police Service to keep updating their knowledge and trickle down their learning to their peers, superiors, and subordinates.

“South Sudan is on the cusp of establishing itself as a true democracy and an efficient policing system is the bedrock of any developing nation,” he stated. “It is important that South Sudanese police officers are fully equipped to deal with crime and uphold the rule of law. As UNPOL officers, we are committed to helping them build their capacities.”

For their part, officers attending the training spoke candidly about their challenges.

According to Mary Akol Mapuor, one of the participants, some of her key takeaways from the in-depth training were how to better deal with cases involving sexual violence or cattle raiding.  

“Women and girls have suffered a lot in South Sudan and we often struggle to bring perpetrators of sexual violence to justice because many women don’t report such incidents promptly. It is difficult for us as police officers to investigate such occurrences thoroughly. The same goes for cattle raids – people blame each other and it is challenging to unravel who initiated the crime. However, this training by UNPOL has taught us techniques that will help us be more efficient in solving such cases,” she averred.

Another participant, Mabor Manyang highlighted that the module on forensic investigation was particularly important, in his opinion. “We are a young police service and learning advanced policing skills such as gathering and proper storage of forensic evidence is very useful. I hope UNPOL continues providing us such useful training.

The workshop concluded with awarding certificates of completion to the participants.