KENYA: Country to Withdraw Troops from South Sudan

NAIROBI NOVEMBER 4, 2016 (CISA) – The Kenyan government said on November 2 it would withdraw its troops from the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) after the sacking of a Kenyan who led the force.

Lieutenant General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki was dismissed by UN chief Ban Ki-moon after a UN inquiry into the response by peacekeepers to several days of violence in the capital Juba in July found a lack of leadership and that UN troops failed to protect civilians.

Lieutenant General Ondieki was accused of not responding to an attack on a hotel in the South Sudanese capital Juba in July, reported Reuters.

According to the UN inquiry, released on November 1, there was a “chaotic and ineffective” UN response and that peacekeepers did not operate under a unified command and received multiple and sometimes conflicting orders.

The Kenyan government however said it rejected the findings of the inquiry and the request by Ban to replace the commander, who had been in charge since June.

“The process leading to this unfortunate decision not only lacked transparency but did not involve any formal consultation with the government of Kenya,” read a statement by the government.

The statement further said that Kenya would withdraw some 1,000 troops deployed with the 13,000 peacekeeping mission in South Sudan as its continued deployment in South Sudan was “no longer tenable and is inimical to their safety and well-being.”

According to Kenya UN Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Kenya had appealed to Ban not to single out any one individual for “what we will continually insist is a systemic failure in the United Nations system.”

UN peacekeepers have been deployed since 2011 when it gained independence from Sudan. Ondieki became the force commander in June, just three weeks before the outbreak of heavy fighting between President Salva Kiir’s troops and soldiers loyal to, Riek Machar.

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