PANO – Two liaison officers of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) are very proud and happy to hear that their partners and colleagues in South Sudan admire the history of struggle for national independence of Vietnam. Above all, they are excited to take part in the UN humanitarian missions in the country with the ongoing conflict.
>> Part II: When the special turns normal“He is an officer of the VPA”
As Vietnamese officers, Lieutenant Colonels Mac Duc Trong and Tran Nam Ngan have certain advantages in carrying out tasks in South Sudan.
Officer Trong told that once they were welcomed at Adock post of the armed opposition force by a salvo of 12.7mm machine gun fire. After entering the post, a captain asked Trong: “Did you fear?” Without hesitation, he replied: “Let me introduce myself. I am Mac Duc Trong, a lieutenant colonel of the VPA!” Thereby, all troops at the post looked at Trong admiringly and since then they worked with him with great respect.
During their missions in South Sudan, Lieutenant Colonels Mac Duc Trong and Tran Nam Ngan met with many officers of different parties and realized that all high-ranking ones have good understanding of Vietnam.
Interestingly, many officers from countries participating in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) knew very well big battles during the Vietnam War and some of them even had taken the Dien Bien Phu Campaign as topic for their graduation papers.
An officer sincerely invited Lieutenant Colonel Mac Duc Trong to his home to seek more information about the fact that how Vietnam could defeat the world’s military powers.
Another time, an Indian peacekeeper introduced Trong to local militia: “He is an officer of the VPA-the invincible army that had defeated the world’s big powers.”
Immediately, they wished to visit Vietnam in the very near future, and led Trong in front of their members and declared the Vietnamese officer is their friend.
Thanks to good preparations before conducting tasks in the UNMISS, the two Vietnamese officers took with them many books, newspapers, CDs and documents on the VPA, including documentary films on the Vietnam War and memoirs of Vietnamese senior officers in English, to present units in South Sudan and other units of countries joining the UNMISS.
As a result, the number of their troops who are interested in learning about the Vietnam People’s Army keeps increasing remarkably.
Special mission at border T-junction
Protecting civilians is top task of the UNMISS. The two Vietnamese officers had to witness a lot heart-rending scenes of local citizens in the troubled times.
Lieutenant Colonel Trong recalled a story happened at the end of January 2015 when he was implementing a mission of the UNMISS in Maban county in Upper Nile state, near the border T-junction of South Sudan, North Sudan and Ethiopia.
Earlier, the opposing force had launched an attack on Kaya (formerly Jamam) town, about 70km from the UNMISS’ stationing place.
Few days after the fierce fighting between the Government troops and the opposing force, the UN was only informed that local people had to flee to the jungle without further information on their amount and current conditions.
It was a serious issue because in areas where fighting occur, local villagers could be massacred for revenge.
Under the instruction of the UN Headquarters and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the UNMISS’ on-site force, consisting of a Rwandese infantry company and two liaison officers including Lieutenant Colonel Trong, were assigned to rush to the scene to join other humanitarian organizations in giving first aid to the refugees, and to protect them if required.
When they came to a check-point of the Government troops, the UN peacekeepers were supposed to work with a brigadier general to understand the situation but he did not cooperate with Lieutenant Colonel Trong and his colleagues.
Even the Government’s troops believed that the UN peacekeepers were scouting their defensive positions to help the opposing party. Thus, Lieutenant Colonel Trong had to report this disadvantageous case to the UN Headquarters for settlement.
After that, the convoy continued setting off. Driving more 100km from the Government’s check-point, the UN peacekeepers suddenly found local people piling out from forests’ edges to their cars as they saw the UN flags.
Lieutenant Colonel Trong shared that he would never forget the scene. There were nearly 3,000 people mostly the elderly, women and children, with exhausted frightened faces.
They said that for days, they had no food, water, medicines and beddings. They were very glad to meet the UN convoy because they knew they would receive aid.
Immediately, the UNHCR’s staff listed the refugees to work out necessary assistance.
The Vietnamese officer highlighted the meaningful humanitarian mission of the UN in the country as well as expressed his honor to be selected for the UNMISS.
Reported by My Hanh Translated by Van Hieu
Đăng ký: VietNam News