UN warns of mass atroc­i­ties in S Su­dan

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

UNITED NA­TIONS — The UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon is warn­ing of a “very real risk of mass atroc­i­ties” in South Su­dan and that peace­keep­ers de­ployed in the war-torn coun­try will not be able to stop such a blood­bath.

Ban told the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil in a re­port re­leased on Wed­nes­day that the United Na­tions must clearly de­fine what ac­tions it is pre­pared to take in the event of mass killings.

“There is a very real risk of mass atroc­i­ties be­ing com­mit­ted in South Su­dan, par­tic­u­larly fol­low­ing the sharp rise in hate speech and eth­nic in­cite­ment in re­cent weeks,” Ban said.

While the UN peace­keep­ers will re­sort to “all nec­es­sary means” to pro­tect civil­ians, “it must be clearly un­der­stood that United Na­tions peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions do not have the ap­pro­pri­ate man­power or ca­pa­bil­i­ties to stop mass atroc­i­ties,” he added.

Nearly 14 000 sol­diers and po­lice are de­ployed in the UNMISS mis­sion, but a re­cent re­port showed the peace­keep­ers failed to pro­tect civil­ians dur­ing an out­break of heavy fight­ing in the cap­i­tal in July.

“The lim­its on UNMISS abil­ity to pro­tect civil­ians in the cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment have been demon­strated clearly,” he said in the re­port sent to the coun­cil last week.

Ban plans to dis­patch a del­e­ga­tion to the African Union in Ad­dis Ababa to agree on a joint plan to con­front a pos­si­ble out­break of mass vi­o­lence in South Su­dan.

The plan could in­clude the creation of an over-the­hori­zon force that would quickly de­ploy in a cri­sis.

The world’s youngest na­tion, South Su­dan de­scended into war in De­cem­ber 2013, leav­ing tens of thou­sands dead and more than 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple dis­placed.

The coun­try won in­de­pen­dence from Su­dan in 2011, with strong sup­port from the United States.

A peace deal be­tween Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar in Au­gust last year had raised hopes of peace, un­til clashes erupted in Juba four months ago.

The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil agreed to de­ploy a re­gional force to Juba to im­prove se­cu­rity, but the govern­ment in Juba has balked at the de­ploy­ment of the 4 000 troops.

In a sep­a­rate con­fi­den­tial let­ter to the coun­cil ob­tained by AFP, Ban said Kiir’s govern­ment had shown “piece­meal and lim­ited con­sent” for the pro­posed re­gional force while con­tin­u­ing to im­pede UNMISS in its work on the ground.—AFP

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