Gov’t pulling peacekeepers from South Sudan in protest
NAIROBI (AP): KENYA IS pulling out its 1,000 troops deployed to South Sudan as part of the UN peacekeeping mission and stopping future deployments after the UN secretary general fired the force’s Kenyan commander, the foreign affairs ministry said.
In a further blow to regional efforts to calm the civil war, Kenya said it is also disengaging from the South Sudan peace process in which it has been instrumental as a broker, guarantor and monitor.
The firing of Kenyan Lt Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki came after an independent investigation sharply criticised peacekeepers’ response to deadly attacks in July on a UN compound housing 27,000 displaced people in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. The probe also found that peacekeepers did not respond to calls for help as South Sudanese soldiers rampaged through a nearby compound popular with foreigners.
The firing was announced shortly after the investigators’ report was released.
Kenya has a little more than 1,000 troops in the UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan, according to authorities. Kenya also had pledged to contribute troops for an additional 4,000 peacekeepers, whose deployment remains uncertain amid opposition from some South Sudan officials.
No more, Kenya’s foreign ministry said. A statement attributed to Principal Secretary Monica Juma said the process of firing Ondieki lacked transparency, without formal consultation with Kenya’s government. It said the move “revealed a high degree of disrespect for our country”.