Kenya threatens to withdraw its troops from South Sudan in protest

East Africa

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unmiss force commander lt. general john mogoa kimani ondieke copy 0[Nairobi, Kenya, TCT] Kenya has threatened to withdraw its troops from South Sudan and has rejected the dismissal of the UNMISS force commander by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
In a strongly-worded statement issued on Wednesday evening, Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the United Nations of acting without consulting Nairobi in sacking Lt-Gen. Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki.
“The process leading to this unfortunate decision not only lacked transparency but did not involve any formal consultation with the Government of Kenya. This demonstrates complete disregard of our key role and responsibility in South Sudan,” the ministry said in a statement.
Kenya further said that the responsibility to protect civilians could not be borne by an individual, given the complex nature of the conflict in South Sudan.
Kenya’s action was in reaction to the decision by UN Secretary-General to sack Lt-Gen. Ondieki as the commander of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), after an investigation revealed the mission had failed to protect civilians during the violence in Juba in July.
The Kenyan government also announced that it will no longer make contributions to South Sudan’s peace process and that it will pull out the 1,229 troops it sent to the country under the UN peacekeeping mission.
Kenya also said it will not honour its earlier decision to contribute to a 4,000-strong UN civilian Regional Protection Force for South Sudan as had been authorized by UN Security Council in August.
The Kenyan commander was appointed in May this year. According to an independent investigation commissioned by Mr. Ban in August, and whose findings were made public on Tuesday, Lt-Gen. Ondieki was blamed for “inaction” and for a “chaotic and ineffective response”.
If Kenya was to pull out of the South Sudan peace process, it could have serious ramifications for the peace process as President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya is the patron of the peace agreement signed last year between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar.
Lt-Gen. Ondieki is reported to have flown to Nairobi yesterday to meet with President Kenyatta for consultations.
But in a quick response to these developments, the UN has said that it still values Kenya’s military and police contributions to peacekeeping operations in South Sudan.


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