Kenya says withdrawing its troops from a United Nations mission in South Sudan

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The security situation in South Sudan has been of concern to countries in the Horn of Africa region.

The attack occurred during several days of fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar, who belong to different ethnic groups. The two men signed a shaky peace deal in August a year ago but it was continuously violated. A peace agreement was signed in August 2015, but fighting, that has left tens of thousands dead and more than 2 million displaced, continues.

United Nations peacekeepers have been deployed in South Sudan since 2011, when it gained independence from Sudan.

The report said “a lack of leadership on the part of key senior mission personnel culminated in a chaotic and ineffective response to the violence” at U.N. House and the compound for displaced civilians.

After identifying John Gatluak, a journalist, as a member of the Nuer tribe, a government soldier executed him and then lodged four more bullets into his dead body, the report said. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has asked for the replacement of the force’s commander.

The ministry said the United Nations mission in the country, known as UNMISS, suffered from “systemic disfunctionality” and that Ondieki was not to blame for violence that killed dozens of people. Kenya has contributed around 1 000 men, making it one of the largest national components.

After almost four hours, South Sudan’s National Security Service extracted most of the civilians.

“The process leading to this unfortunate decision not only lacked transparency but did not involve any formal consultation with the government of Kenya”, said a statement by Principal Secretary Monica Juma.

The ministry said it had been informed “with dismay” of Ban’s decision, adding, “The continued deployment of (Kenya’s) troops in South Sudan is no longer tenable and is inimical to their safety and well-being”.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Foreign Affairs ministry said they have rejected the UN’s decision and will disengage from South Sudan’s peace process.

Machar fled the capital during the clashes, which scuttled worldwide efforts to form a unity government and restore peace to South Sudan.

Ondieki had been the force commander since May. U.N. South Sudan envoy Ellen Loj will step down at the end of November.

Kirby said the South Sudanese government “bears primary responsibility for the protection of its population and other civilians from genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and other physical violence” and called on it to hold all perpetrators accountable.

   ©Alleastafrica and The Star

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