Peacekeeping: January 16, 2004


An advance unit of between 100 to 115 Namibian soldiers will be deployed to Liberia over the weekend, part of a battalion of 850 soldiers (more or less) slated for peacekeeping duties. This illustrates one of the problems the UN has mustering troops, since planners frequently don't know the unit's end strength until the unit is ready to leave home.

Earlier this week, a UN team arrived in Namibia to negotiate the final number with the Namibian Defense Force (NDF), then inspect the vehicles, equipment, arms and ammunition on standby for deployment to assess the quantity needed. At that point, the total NDF deployment strength would be determined. The UN will bear the costs of deploying the Namibian soldiers.

The NDF's last major foreign mission was in 1998, when they sent about 2,000 soldiers to the Congo to support former president Laurent-Desire Kabila's government against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda. A small Namibian detachment was also deployed inside Angola in 1999, to prevent the Angolan rebel movement UNITA's raids into northern Namibia (which were retaliation for the presence of Angolan troops there). - Adam Geibel


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