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N.Tsagaannokhoi: I got to understand what homeland is, after going to South Sudan

Trans.by B.DULGUUN

Thousands of Sudan citizens are fleeing from home due to an ongoing conflict in South Sudan, between forces of the government and oppositions. The South Sudanese Civil War began on the evening of December 15, 2013.

Some 51 Mongolian peace keepers departed to South Sudan as part of the third shift of Mongolian troop for the UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Below is an interview with one of the brave Mongolian peacekeepers, Auto base doctor of the General Police Department of Mongolia and Police Captain P.Tsagaannokhoi about his mission and other related issues. He delivered three babies during the his peacekeeping mission.

What was going through your mind at the war zone?

We need to be proud of having been born in this beautiful land and country. I got to understand the values of a homeland after going to South Sudan. I instinctively thought about how wonderful and amazing Mongolia is as a country and was proud of my homeland and parents. I walked with pride of being a Mongolian. Sudanese people are born to a much more difficult environment and condition with poor livelihood and high probability of diseases and infection. When there was a conflict, local people desperately sought our help. Before returning, we took 47,000 people under our protection. Our battalion exerted a lot of hard work and effort to protect those people.

It must’ve been difficult to endure Sudan’s heat for nine months while carrying heavy weapons. How did you protect yourself from tropical diseases?

To protect ourselves from communicable and non-communicable diseases that we may get infected with in Sudan, peacekeepers were vaccinated, which prevent five different types of diseases, before departing to South Sudan. The Mongolian troop consisted of 51 members. Misleading information about our troops getting infected with Ebola virus disease (EVD) was spread around. There isn’t a single officer who was infected with EVD among our peacekeepers. South Sudan is a humid, land-locked country located in West Africa. EVD breaks out in East African countries which are open to the ocean.

Generally, our troops quickly adapted to operations and the time difference, and completed our tasks well. Thinking and adapting skills of Mongolians were proven to be exceptional during the mission. Our third shift, led by Colonel B.Erdenebat, returned to Mongolia after successfully completing our mission.

How many of the 51 peacekeepers were for medical support service?

The medical support team had 25 people. Mongolian peacekeepers were allocated to four different bases and fulfilled our duties separately. Our tasks were different too. A doctor must be loyal to their oaths and be thorough and careful whenever providing first aid. Despite the fact that the situation worsened during our mission in Sudan, the medical team was unwearied and successfully fulfilled our duties.

You’re a doctor but worked as the head nurse at the base. Are nurses permitted to fulfill a doctor’s duty in Sudan?

[Medical troops] go as remote patrollers. Nurses are given a doctor’s authorities during a patrol. A doctor or a nurse must be part of a patrol team. Our longest journey, 800 km over muddy and dusty road, took seven to eight days. On this occasion, a doctor is responsible for 20 to 30 people, and during this period, the doctor has to make the bravest decisions and be very responsible. I worked as a doctor for over 80 of this sort of journey. The Mongolian UN missionaries and peacekeepers assisted local residents without delay with medical support services.

Drinking water and food are distributed to refugees. In what sort of conditions do refugees live in? Is the food enough to subdue hunger?

Special force assigned by the UN distributes food to refugees and Mongolian soldiers have to ensure their safety. Food is distributed by kg to refugees at camp and ink is applied on their finger. People who received food can’t get more. It seemed that they give a week’s worth of food on each distribution.

Have you thought of wanting to help out somebody? Was there any shocking or unthinkable event?

Soon after we arrived in South Sudan, the situation worsened. When the medical team arrived at the second check point to provide medical service to the injured, something very shocking that we’ve never seen before in Mongolia was awaiting us. I felt uneasy while sewing wounds and treating people who were shot in the head and leg, or injured their joints and organs.

Prior on our journey to the check point, the Local People’s Liberation Army soldiers incurred mines ID (radio-controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED)) and was caught in an explosion. We provided first aid to 12 survivors of the explosion and sent them to the next level hospital. There were many sudden attacks that don’t happen in Mongolia. At the beginning, I was very frightened but soon I realized it was our mission and worked hard to gift these people with faith and confidence to live and give the opportunity to live since I’m a doctor.

Can you tell us about your family?

I have five siblings. One of my older sisters is in Ulaanbaatar and my older brother, other older sister and younger sibling is living in the countryside. I have two sons and a daughter. The eldest recently entered elementary school.

Were you able to help out with your son’s school preparations?

I managed to do so on August 30 and 31.

Do you wish to raise one of your sons as a soldier?

No. I will make them complete their military services but I won’t ask them to be a soldier.

Although you have experience delivering babies, was it difficult to deliver a baby in field conditions?

I graduated from the Medical Science University of Gobi-Altai Province as a doctor and worked in my home town, Tsetseg soum of Khovd Province, from 2008 to 2010. I delivered the first baby [during the peacekeeping mission] at 1 a.m. on December 22, 2013, at the refugee camp. At the time, doctors at the IDT base (refugee camp) were given orders to go on patrol due to insufficient manpower. During the patrol, I helped a pregnant woman deliver her baby in a difficult condition at the patrol site.

The baby and mother were healthy and fine. The second baby was delivered in January at Khubilai base and the third baby in July. The three babies are growing healthily at the IDT base with their mothers sand family members under the protection and security of our soldiers.

Were the babies of healthy weights?

They were fully developed newborns. They weighed around 2,900 g. A newborn over 2,800 g is considered fully developed. Their general body condition is good. One of the mothers had her baby at the age of 16 and the other two were 19 and 21 years old.

The mothers are very young. At what age are people considered adults in South Sudan?

I’m not sure. They seem to give birth from the age of 14 and 15.

Did you name the babies?

I named only one of them. One of the three bases where Mongolian battalion serves is Arvai base in Pariang County, South Sudan. Since the baby was born during a war, I named him Arvaibaatar (“baatar” is a hero or a warrior in Mongolian).

The parents seem to face difficulty in pronouncing as the name is long. I’m sure they’ll give a different name.

Is there a citizen registration service at the refugee camp?

No.

Do you have any messages you wish to pass onto future peacekeepers?

Since Mongolian soldiers’ skills have reached global levels, all workers and officers of the Mongolian Armed Forces and other national security organizations should participate in peacekeeping missions. I think it’s best to test yourself at least once at something. I’d like to express my gratitude to the General Police Department, Auto Base superiors and all the staff for supporting the Mongolian 51 troops and other military officers that took part in the peacekeeping operation. Please remember that Mongolian police officers are recognized globally.

 

Source: Unuudur

 

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=11958

Posted by on Sep 18 2014. Filed under Prime Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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