World Bulletin / News Desk
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Friday that his country would not stand idly by while innocent civilians were murdered in South Sudan, where a fresh bout of violence left scores dead last week in the cities of Bentiu and Bor.
"We refuse to be witnesses to such atrocities and to remain helpless and hopeless in their wake," Kenyatta, who also serves as chairman of the East African Community (EAC), said in a statement read out by State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu.
"It is heart-wrenching for us in the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the EAC, African Union and indeed the wider global community to sit and watch atrocities being committed on a daily basis. This must be put to a stop," Kenyatta declared.
The president likened the situation in next-door South Sudan to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, saying that Kenya had pledged not to ever allow such a massacre to recur.
"During the 20th commemoration of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, I expressed our region's disappointment at having done little to nothing at the time to end the slaughter of a million innocent human beings in Rwanda by a bloodthirsty cabal," he said.
The Kenyan president, who is also the rapporteur for IGAD, an East Africa trade bloc that has been leading mediation efforts between South Sudan's warring rivals in Addis Ababa, said a regional conference would be organized to address the issue.
"As a region, we are convening an emergency summit of IGAD in coming days to deliberate and consider our options on the subject," he said.
The president condemned actions taken by both sides of the conflict, saying they had both ignored an IGAD-mediated cessation of hostilities agreement signed in January and had continued to fight, killing innocent people.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked vice president, Riek Machar, of trying to overthrow his regime.
The conflict has already claimed more than 10,000 lives, with the U.N. estimating that some one million South Sudanese have been displaced by the violence.
According to the U.N., over 200 people were murdered and 400 injured in various places of worship – at which they had sought refuge – in Bentiu last week.
An April 17 attack on the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Bor had left 40 dead, the organization noted.Last Mod: 26 Nisan 2014, 12:30