JUBA, South Sudan, May 27, 2016 – The presence of explosive detection dogs (EDD) will be increased throughout the country and today, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) South Sudan will receive 37 new EDDs. These dogs are valuable team members who work hard to protect vulnerable populations in South Sudan. The EDD regularly support United Nations Police (UNPOL) to conduct searches of protection of civilians sites, cargo and entry points, to detect prohibited or hazardous items, all of which are swiftly removed by UNPOL so that internally displaced people (IDP), and others under UNMISS protection, remain safe from harm. Currently UNMAS has six EDD teams which focus on entry point control and cargo searches in Juba. In 2015, 19,781 vehicles, 13,587 bags and 970 buildings were searched using these teams.
Upon arrival, the dogs will be transferred to temporary kennels in Gumbo, Juba, where they will be acclimatized and paired with their future handlers. Once the dogs are settled they will be paired with expert handlers who will complete additional training with the dogs, which is tailored specifically to South Sudan. While some of the dogs will remain in Juba, to work at the UN Thom Ping Base, UN House the POC sites and the UN airport, many will be transferred to Bentiu, Bor and Malakal.
It should be emphasized that the dogs are working animals and they have been specially trained to perform the roles they will undertake. They are safe and friendly animals and they have all be screened for illness and disease and provided with necessary vaccinations. The welfare of the dogs is of prime importance to UNMAS, as is the safety of the communities within which they will be working.