November 1, 2016 (JUBA) – The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon has sacked the commander of the UN force in South Sudan, a day after the world body released which accused its peacekeeping troops of failed to protect unarmed civilians in July.
- The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon handshake with the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir at Presidential Palace, J1 in Juba capital on February 25, 2016 (UNMISS photo)
A spokesperson for the UN Secretary General said Ki-moon demanded the “immediate” replacement Lt Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki.
The UN had instituted an independent special investigation into the July 2016 violence in the young nation’s capital to establish what actions its mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) undertook, including its response to acts of sexual violence in and around the protection of civilians sites at UN House and the attack on Terrain camp.
The special investigation found said the UN did not respond effectively to the violence due to an overall lack of leadership, preparedness and integration among the various components of the mission.
“The Special Investigation also found that command and control arrangements were inadequate, while peacekeepers maintained a risk-averse posture,” partly reads a statement from the world body.
It further added, “These factors contributed to the failure of UNMISS to respond to the attack by [South Sudan] government soldiers on the Terrain camp on 11 July and protect civilians under threat”.
The special investigation, according the report, was unable to verify allegations that peacekeepers failed to respond to acts of sexual violence committed directly in front of them on 17 and 18 July.
The independent special investigation into the violence from 8-11 July in the South Sudanese capital was commissioned by the UN.
The fighting began with clashes between President Salva Kiir’s guards and bodyguards of the sacked former vice-president Riek Machar.
In the three days of fighting, at least 73 people were reportedly killed, including more than 20 internally displaced people who had sought UN protection, the world body said in the damning report. Two peacekeepers were killed and others injured.
Meanwhile, the special investigations report also backed claims by aid workers that the UN troops refused to respond when government soldiers attacked an international aid compound in Juba.
The special investigation, however, found that UNMISS faced an extremely challenging set of circumstances and was caught in the crossfire of an active and particularly violent conflict.