Operation TRENTON: The British Army in South Sudan

by | Jul 24, 2017

400 British Soldiers in South Sudan Deployment

More than 200 British Army personnel are currently undergoing training in advance of deploying on Operation TRENTON, the UK’s contribution to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

British Army units involved include Army Medical Services, 335 Medical Evacuation Regiment and the Corps of Royal Engineers.

The MOD announced July 21 that a further 162 British personnel from 32 Engineer Regiment based at Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire will increase the total number of UK military in South Sudan to approximately 400.

The mission will see the Corps of Royal Engineers complete various engineering tasks and the Army Medical Services establish a field hospital. Based at UN camps in Malakal and Bentiu, the UK Task Force will join up to 17,000 Peacekeepers from countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, India, Mongolia and Uganda.

South Sudan is in its fourth year of conflict since fighting erupted between factions for and against President Salva Kiir in December 2013. The United Nations says that more than 1.8 million South Sudanese have fled the country, with another 1.9 million internally displaced from their homes.

The British Army’s initial deployment on Operation TRENTON was announced in September 2015, with the first soldiers being sent in May 2016. This was an advance party drawn from Force Troop Command, 1 Division and Field Army Training, numbering about 10 soldiers. Their non-combat mission was to support African Union peacekeeping efforts against the al-Shabab Islamic terrorist group.

British Army’s Engineer Task Force Heading for Africa

After 12 months of detailed planning and mission specific training the British Army’s Engineer Task Force now has a firm foot on the ground in South Sudan, according to the Royal Engineers. The Task Force is made up of 25 units, totalling 378 service men and women. Leading the Task Force is RHQ 21 Engineer Regiment with sub-units and troops drawn from 39 Engineer Regiment, 71 Engineer Regiment and 62 Works Group. Additional elements have been drawn from 16 Medical Regiment, the RIFLES, Royal Logistics Corps (RLC), REME, Royal Signals Regiment (R SIGNALS), Intelligence Corps, Royal Military Police (RMP), the Brigade of Gurkhas, the RAF and the Navy. The UK’s commitment will last for three years with follow on 6 month rotation from 32 Engr Regt, 21 Engr Regt, 36 Engr Regt and finally 39 Engr Regt.

Soliders are currently at work building the Task Force base in Malakal Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp as part of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The UNMISS PoC camps offer safety for over 220,000 people as part of the UN Mandate, which seeks to protect civilians and the conditions to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid. Task Force engineering work will help to improve logistic routes and security at both Malakal and Bentiu PoC sites, which include improving drainage and flood prevention, as well as designing and constructing a Nile jetty and a helicopter landing site. At Bentiu, the Task Force will build and staff a Level 2 hospital for over 1,800 UN personnel.

Temporary Hospital Now Operational in Bentiu

In a release from the MOD on July 5, the Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, confirmed that the UK-built temporary hospital that will support a UN mission in country is now up and running.

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