August 6 ,2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan president Salva Kiir has accepted the deployment of additional foreign troops from regional countries help protect and boost the fighting capacity of the United Nations mission as it defends civilians at risk of extreme violence.
- South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (Photo: Reuters)
Addressing reporters on arrival from Ethiopia on Saturday, South Sudan’s information minister Michael Makuei Lueth said the force will have limited roles.
"We accepted the force that will protect civilians in UNMISS, international NGOs and international facilities, not more than that," said Makuei who attended the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) heads of states summit.
The regional troops, IGAD said in a communiqué issued at the end of the summit, will take control of Juba and vital installations as well as fighting, disarming and neutralize any South Sudanese forces igniting violence in the capital and around the country.
Sources within the presidency told Sudan Tribune that government resolved to accept the deployment of additional foreign troops in the country in compliance with the outcome of an ordinary summit of heads of state and governments in Addis Ababa.
“The government and the president have accepted the outcome of the summit of the IGAD heads of state and government held yesterday in Addis Ababa. The summit has now clarified the mandate of the new troops, which was not the case in the previous messages which our people were getting," a presidential source told this publication.
"The previous messages were confusing and creating panics to the society. The messages were vague the lacked clarity but now it is clear. It will now be a protection force, not an intervention force”, added the official.
The official said the South Sudanese leader and the government was now waiting for the final communique on the outcome of the regional summit and the briefing from the government delegation, which traveled to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Another senior government official separately said the summit resolved to send troops from neigbouring countries in the region under the United Nations with clear mandate.
"The outcome is not really bad, though the details are yet out. But it has been agreed at the summit that the mandate of the regional force will be clearly stated with participation of the government. Discussions have been concluded. It is now the technical committee of the IGAD secretariat which is left to work out the details and come out with the communique. I don’t know when it will be released but it may come out today," the source said.
He added, "But what is clear is that the mandate of this new force is that it will have to set a buffer zone between the warring parties as defined by peace agreement. It will also be mandated to respond to any side intending to violate the [peace] agreement.
Another very important mandate, the official further explained, is that this force will protect civilians at risk of danger by the activities of the two warring parties. It will have a role to play in reforming security sector by separating the military from politics.
"This is what the summit agreed on and government was happy with the outcome," he stressed.