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Vietnam’s first sapper unit for UN peacekeeping enters training before deployment

Vietnam’s first sapper unit for UN peacekeeping enters training before deployment

Friday, November 26, 2021, 18:00 GMT+7
Vietnam’s first sapper unit for UN peacekeeping enters training before deployment
Vietnam’s sapper unit No. 1 performs a martial art stunt, November 25, 2021. Photo: Tran Thinh / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s first sapper unit for United Nations peacekeeping operations is undergoing a training course in Hanoi to prepare for their mission in Abyei, a disputed oil-rich border territory claimed by both South Sudan and Sudan.

The Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations kicked off the training for the 203-strong sapper unit on Thursday.

Sapper unit No. 1, Vietnam’s first sapper company for UN peacekeeping operations, made its debut during a ceremony in Hanoi on November 15.

The unit was established in 2014 and charged with a suitable peacekeeping mission at the request of the UN.

The training, which lasts until December 6, is expected to analyze and improve the unit’s capability in operation, specialist knowledge, and management before it is deployed for a mission of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

Major General Hoang Kim Phung, director of the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations, speaks with foreign military attachés in Vietnam at a sapper unit training, November 25, 2021. Photo: Tran Thinh / Tuoi Tre

Major General Hoang Kim Phung, director of the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations, gestures when speaking with foreign military attachés in Vietnam at a sapper unit training session, November 25, 2021. Photo: Tran Thinh / Tuoi Tre

All defense units must enter comprehensive practical training courses to ensure their competence and readiness before they join UN peacekeeping missions, said Major General Hoang Kim Phung, director of the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

This is the first training course for the sapper unit to be run exclusively by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, as foreign experts who joined previous years’ iterations were not able to arrive due to the COVID-19 epidemic. 

Vietnam’s sapper unit No.1 undergoes practical training in preparation for United Nations peacekeeping missions, November 25, 2021. Photo: Tran Thinh / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s sapper unit No. 1 undergoes practical training in preparation for United Nations peacekeeping missions, November 25, 2021. Photo: Tran Thinh / Tuoi Tre

The coursework and scenarios used in the training are based on the UN’s guidelines on functions and responsibilities of small-scale sapper units, with inputs of pundits from the Ministry of National Defense and field experiences of officials from the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

Sappers are to be put through training in using equipment, driving sapper motorbikes, repairing plumbing and electrical systems, and building makeshift roads, landing sites, defense structures, sewage systems, housing, among others.

The course also provides sappers with peacekeeping knowledge, including protecting civilians, women and children, preventing sexual abuse, handling illegal checkpoints, negotiating, and implementing first-aid.

During the launching ceremony, Major General Phung encouraged sappers to focus on the training, improving themselves on all aspects to prepare for the upcoming appraisal from the UN. 

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