Peacekeeping missions extended for Samoan Police
Border closures have forced Samoan Police Officers on United Nations (U.N.) Peacekeeping missions in Africa to extend their postings.
The Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil, told the Samoa Observer that personnel were stationed across the continent.
“We have an allotment of 25 officers who can be deployed to Africa – Darfur, Sudan and we have some police officers there,” the Commissioner said.
“Generally, the mission is for one year and it takes a lot of qualifications and testing to get selected for an officer to go to these things but it’s only for one year.”
Border closures have also delayed travel for Police Officers in Samoa who were scheduled for deployment to Africa.
“We have some people waiting to go,” Fuiavailili added.
“Because of the border issues that COVID-19 brought upon all of us and the whole world, these individuals are forced to remain, to extend their contracts over at these U.N. missions.”
The Commissioner said that the officers miss their families but kept their spirits high by communicating online.
“Naturally they miss home. Some of them want to come home and some of them are okay. Of course they are communicating with their families using the internet and messenger and all that so they are okay,” the Commissioner said.
“I get a report from them every month. All the reports I am getting is that they are fine and they are enjoying what they are doing. But we do have people there and they will remain there until it’s safe to come home and when they are allowed to come through different countries.”
Bringing Police back from a country as far away as Africa involves a lot of logistical effort, he noted.
“Africa is such a far [away] place and it’s a lot of coordination to get someone back home,” Fuiavailili said.
“It’s not a national decision. It’s an international decision and that’s a little bit complicated right now.
“There is no telling when the Police Officers will return to Samoa.
“Do we want them home? Yes, we want them home. But unfortunately they will remain there until these border issues have been resolved.
“Some have been [over] there for six months since the beginning of COVID-19 and we are thinking it’s going to be a little bit longer too. Whatever length of time it takes to get them back – it is what it is.”
It is not known how many Police Officers are in Darfur, Sudan.