Vietnam Opens First Engineering Unit in Abyei

Vietnam’s Engineering Unit Rotation 1 has ensured the set schedule of all assigned tasks, and has been applauded for their capability, especially their creativity and high sense of responsibility.
July 29, 2022 | 13:04

Although it has only deployed to participate in UN peacekeeping operations for more than a month, the Vietnam’s Engineering Unit Rotation 1 has left many profound impressions on the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) by their practical actions.

Typically, the front-line force of the Vietnam's team with only 28 members, did not have any equipment or means in hand, but successfully installed a workshop for repairing and maintaining equipment, cars and motorbikes of the UN peacekeeping missio which was a large project with complex structure and high technical requirements.

Vietnam's First Engineering Unit Active in Abyei
Colonel Mac Duc Trong and Lieutenant Colonel MaMan - Commander of the Northern Division, head of the Pakistani unit, received the local authorities with the village elder, the patriarch of the Amiet Zone. Source: Vietnam’s Engineering Unit

In less than 10 days, the Vietnam’s Engineering Unit has repaired a dilapidated and severely degraded barracks to ensure stable accommodation for its members as soon as possible; at the same time, set up two teams for emergency road rescue and repair activities along roads in the northern division - a border area between Sudan and South Sudan.

In the past month, the unit has organised the rescue of six UN vehicles and local people.

Those first activities have won approval and drew admiration from all agencies and units of the UNISFA Mission. With those efforts and determination, the Vietnam Engineers Team has become a bright spot at the UNISFA Mission.

Especially during the briefings, the Head of the Mission cum Military Commander always gave the Vietnamese engineers good words, referring to them as a model for the units to follow.

Continuing UN peacekeeping operations at the UNISFA Mission, with the permission of the Mission Head cum Military Commander, the Vietnam’s Engineering Unit (in charge of the entire Mission) coordinated with Pakistani forces (in charge of security and protection of civilians in the North Division) organized medical examination, medicine distribution, gift giving to local people in Amiet market area.

Amiet market is the second most populous area in Abyei. This is a wholesale market, the most important trading place for the economic and commercial activities of the people in the Abyei region. Goods from the North move to the South and vice versa are gathered at here.

Ethnic groups live and trade including Dinka, Misseriya, Nuer, Twic, Kamil, Fayyatin, Mizama and even merchants from Ethiopia. Locals liken Amiet market as the center of the whole Abyei because it ensures that locals can sell products, and at the same time buy goods from other areas.

At the beginning of this year, due to the restructuring of the mission, several cases of looting, attacking, driving other ethnic groups out of the region, even ethnic cleansing.

However, the UNISFA Mission promptly mobilized forces to prevent conflicts, ensure security and safety, and bring people's lives back to normal.

Since its deployment, Vietnam’s Engineering Unit Rotation 1 has been organised the repair and maintenance of an arterial road with a length of more than 50km passing through the Amiet market and regularly rescuing bogged trucks. In the past month, the unit has organised the rescue of six UN vehicles and local people. This mission has contributed to improving the lives of local people to become more and more secure and prosperous.

This humanitarian activity aims to strengthen foreign affairs, expand exchanges and cooperation with participating units; propagate and further spread the image of Vietnam's Green Beret force, the image of Uncle Ho's army; creating favorable conditions for security for the unit to continue to successfully carry out the tasks of road construction, road repair, and rescue in the area.

Vietnam's First Engineering Unit Active in Abyei
The Vietnam’s Engineering Unit guide women and children to the clinic. Source: Vietnam’s Engineering Unit

Vietnam’s Engineering Unit Rotation 1 recently coordinated with Pakistani forces to organise its first humanitarian activity, focusing on medical examination, medicine, and gift-giving to locals in the Amiet market.

The Vietnamese team was in charge of health check-up and medicine provision for women and children, while the Pakistani forces took care of men in the Amiet market, the second most populated area in Abyei.

Regardless of skin color or race, the doctors and nurses of the Engineer Unit have made great efforts to promote the sense of responsibility and professional qualifications.

Within about five hours, Vietnamese officers offered their medical services and presented gifts to 168 indigenous women and children, detecting many suffering from chronic and infectious diseases diseases such as chronic bronchitis, chronic conjunctivitis, arthritis, atopic dermatitis, malaria, impetigo.

The timely examination and distribution of medicines has left a warm feeling, leaving a deep impression on the local authorities and people, as well as strengthening the friendly relationship with the company.

Vietnam's First Engineering Unit Active in Abyei
Vietnamese officers welcomes local residents coming for health checkups. Photo:

In parallel with the medical examination and drugs distribution, the Vietnam unit prepared 168 gifts prepared by the team before deploying to the UNISFA Mission and additional donations from officers and employees.

The small but practical gifts in life given by the unit to each indigenous people have partly encouraged and shared the difficulties of the people here.

Vietnam's First Engineering Unit Active in Abyei
A Vietnamese officier presents a gift to a resident as part of the event. Source: Vietnam’s Engineering Unit

The daily living tools and items such as toothbrushes, laundry soap, notebooks, ballpoint pens, instant noodles, and clothes have been received with joy and happiness, those happy moments really overcame all differences in skin color and language.

It can be said that this humanitarian activity has widely spread the image of Vietnamese “green beret” soldiers, shining the image and noble qualities of Uncle Ho's army in the land of Abyei.

Vietnam’s Engineering Unit Rotation 1 has 184 members. The first 28 members arrived in Abyei on May 5 and the remaining 156 arrived in Abyei on June 15 (local time).

Established in 2014 and debuted in November 2021, the unit has been the biggest of Vietnam to join UN peacekeeping mission to date.

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