JOBBINS, Paul Anthony

Royal Marines
Royal Navy
Colonel Paul Jobbins, O.B.E., R.D *., RM Reserves, was awarded the George Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2004 [1].

"Colonel Jobbins deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo in April 2004 as Chief of Staff United Nations Joint Operations Centre, Bukavu, the major city in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He was delegated tactical control of all United Nations forces in Bukavu, amounting to two infantry companies. After three months of increasing tension and ill discipline between two rival factions of the Congolese Land Forces based in the city, serious fighting broke out on 26th May 2004. The fighting, which lasted two weeks, claimed over one hundred lives, hundreds of injured, and forced the displacement of thousands of the minority community. Women were raped, innocent children murdered and houses pillaged. Bukavu fell to the insurgents on 9th June. Calm of sorts was finally restored after the authorities regained control five days later. Throughout this extended period, unarmed, at great personal risk, Jobbins continuously demonstrated remarkable gallantry. He conducted ceasefire negotiations with the faction commanders, arranged the withdrawal of all forces, and rescued United Nations personnel and Congolese civilians. These actions were frequently conducted under small arms and mortar fire between the opposing forces.

"After negotiating a ceasefire Jobbins arranged a meeting between the dissident former General Nkunda, who was advancing on Bukavu with four thousand soldiers, and the United Nations Force Commander. Unable to contact other military personnel, still unarmed and with only one officer to support him, Jobbins drove through sustained crossfire between retreating Government forces and the advancing rebels. He successfully persuaded Nkunda to halt his advance and meet the Force Commander. Jobbins then drove to the airport, through which any evacuation would be conducted, to assess the situation where fighting had isolated United Nations logistic units. He encountered hostile crowds due to the United Nations' perceived inaction. Learning that United Nations troops were reluctant to escort much needed supplies to Bukavu, he quickly organized a convoy and led a small escort. Jobbins then again assisted the United Nations Brigade Commander to create a buffer zone between the rebels and Government forces. With the city being pillaged by successive groups, the dangerous and deteriorating security situation threatened the lives of thousands. Confronted by this chaos, Jobbins worked tirelessly to rescue those who requested assistance. Assisted by a few brave volunteers, including United Nations civilians but with few reliable military personnel, he personally rescued many terrified civilians, often under fire, and always at risk.

"Recognized by all United Nations personnel in Bukavu, civil and military alike, as one of the few United Nations' officers with commitment and courage, his gallant leadership under fire inspired renewed confidence of those around him. Despite being threatened personally by both factions, his negotiation skills contributed directly to the successful outcome of the Bukavu crisis. He personally ensured the safety of thousands of innocent civilians. Unarmed, Jobbins' repeatedly gallant actions throughout the crisis were in the finest traditions of the British Armed Forces and clearly went well beyond the normal limits of United Nations peacekeeping" [2].

[1] London Gazette 57588, page 3376.
[2] MOD Press Release.
[O.B.E.] London Gazette 56595, page 5 dated 15 June 2002.
* [Clasp to R.D.] London Gazette 54893, page 10458.

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