McKINLAY, Andrew Ross
Captain, Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery

CITATION
NZ Distinguished Service Decoration
In the early months of 2014, Acting Major McKINLAY was serving as a Military Liaison Officer (MLO) with the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) at the Malakal State Support Base in Upper Nile State. Inside the base were approximately 28,000 Internally Displaced Persons from a variety of South Sudanese tribal groups. There was significant antipathy between some of these tribes and there was little physical separation between them within the base.

On the night of 17 February 2014 fighting broke out among the groups within the base and continued through to dawn on the 18th. It resumed later that day when significant fighting, including tank and mortar fire, broke out between Government of South Sudan forces (SPLA) and anti-Government forces in the area. The fighting inside the base reached levels not seen during the previous night with a considerable number of deaths among those taking part. The MLOs were attacked on a number of occasions while attempting to evacuate casualties to the hospital, and Major McKinlay had to draw his pistol on more than one occasion to protect fellow UN staff and UN contractors who were seeking shelter with himself and a Swedish MLO. During this period he also sustained a number of minor injuries, caused while grabbing weapons off rioters and attempting to stop a number of beatings taking place around him.

After the fighting died down, Major McKINLAY resumed his normal MLO duties, which meant going outside the base to talk to Government and rebel commanders. He did this despite knowing that these men had little control over their own troops and that there was a real risk of unprovoked attacks from either side. He also continued to volunteer himself for patrols from the base to Malakal township and assisted in the recovery of bodies from inside the base, despite the high level of tension that still existed between the tribal groupings and the death threats some of them had made against the MLOs.

The task of protecting civilians within the base during the violence of 17-19 February had fallen to the MLOs due to the absence of other UN troops and police units. Though not equipped for such a task, the MLOs at Malakal, including Major McKinlay, had acted with exceptional courage and had managed to contain the situation.

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KNOWN AWARDS
NZ Distinguished Service Decoration
NZ Operational Service Medal

NOTES
Born
Died
THE PRO PATRIA PROJECT