UN agrees new peacekeeping force for South Sudan

Extra 4,000 troops earmarked to protect civilians around capital Juba following July violence

UN agrees new peacekeeping force for South Sudan

World Bulletin / News Desk

The UN Security Council late Friday authorized sending 4,000 troops to South Sudan to protect civilians as the country stands on the brink of returning to civil war.

However, with President Salva Kiir’s government opposed to more foreign soldiers being stationed in the country, it remains to be seen how the new force will be deployed if the resolution’s threat of an arms embargo does not work.

The council voted to extend the current UN Mission in South Sudan, which involves 12,000 peacekeepers, to December as well as allocate a new force to secure the capital Juba. The resolution stressed the mission’s mandate to “use all necessary means” to protect civilians “through proactive deployment and active patrolling”.

In early July, hundreds were killed in violence between forces loyal to separate factions in the transitional government, which was formed after a peace deal in August last year to bring the two-year conflict to an end.

Fighters from former First Vice President Riek Machar’s Sudan People's Liberation Army-In Opposition fought government troops loyal to Kiir in clashes that threatened to reignite the war.

Tens of thousands of civilians fled to the UN compound in Juba. A UN investigation later showed government forces carried out killings, rapes and looting during the outburst.

Kiir later replaced Machar as vice president and the rebel leader is now in hiding outside Juba, where he had returned in April to form the unity administration.

The protection force -- likely to be made up of troops from Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Rwanda -- will guard Juba and the airport and “promptly and effectively engage” those found carrying out or preparing attacks.

The U.S.-drafted motion said an arms embargo would be considered if the government obstructs the deployment or the work of the UN mission.

However, Kiir’s spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said that the resolution contravened South Sudan’s sovereignty.

“It puts South Sudan in the grave, completely undoes sovereignty and we will end up as a protectorate of the United Nations,” he said.

“It is unfortunate in the sense that the United States is the midwife of South Sudan, is the one that helped to bring South Sudan into being and should not be the one helping South Sudan to be taken into the grave.”

A spokesman for Machar welcomed the resolution and pointed out that Machar’s replacement Taban Deng had accepted the principle of a regional intervention force at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Addis Ababa on Aug. 5.

“We support the United Nations’ approval and we want the decision to be implemented as soon as possible,”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Ağustos 2016, 11:12