Kenya in diplomatic row with UN

The dismissal of Kenyan three-star general from a United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan has caused a diplomatic row between the country and the UN.

Kenya said on Friday it will no longer work with the global body’s peacekeeping department.

It accused the UN secretariat of “disrespect” and “bureaucratic arrogance”.

Kenya said the dismissal of Lt-Gen Johnson Magoa Kimani Ondieki by UN Secretary Genral Mr Ban Ki-Moon, was an “insult to us”.

“We know that some people were not happy with an African commander at the helm of the force. It boils down to that,” Africa Review quoted Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Monica Juma.

She said Kenya will also not send its soldiers to the proposed regional protection force for South Sudan, recently formed by the UN Security Council to join the roughly 12,000 UN peacekeepers serving there with a special mandate of protecting civilians.

She said Kenya had not received the UN report that recommended the dismissal of Lt-Gen Ondieki.

“It all started on July 11, when South Sudanese troops allied to President Salva Kiir went on the rampage after winning a battle against his former vice-President-turned rebel leader Riek Machar.

“They stormed Terrain Hotel in the capital Juba, which is popular with foreigners, in one of the worst targeted attacks on aid workers in South Sudan’s three-year civil war. The soldiers are said to have raped foreign women, singling out Americans.’’

Dr Juma said that before and after the raid, South Sudan had been hit by a wave of attacks on civilians — including at the presidential palace — but the UN has not investigated the cases.
“What was so special with the Terrain Hotel attack? Why is the premium put on Terrain Hotel higher than anywhere else?” Dr Juma asked.

Diplomatic sources said the United States had put pressure on the UN to act after its civilians were hurt during the attack, which is described as not one of the worst in Sudan.

By the time of the Terrain Hotel attack, Lt-Gen Ondieki was only three months into the job as the force commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

Kenyan troops were stationed at the volatile Wau Town on the western bank of the Jur River, described as one of the most difficult territories in Sudan and yet the most stable.

During the attack, Lt-Gen Ondieki, who had not been inducted into the mission, is said to have asked an incident commander “to react”, as is the norm within the UN peacekeeping structur

© Alleastafrica and NAN

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