Home | News    Saturday 12 November 2016

S. Sudanese party concerned over withdrawal of Kenyan troops

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

October 11, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – A South Sudanese opposition group, the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) on Thursday expressed concern by the decision by the Kenyan government to withdraw its troops from peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

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UN peacekeepers offer protection to residents of Jonglei state, South Sudan (UN photo)

Last week, the Kenyan government ordered the immediate withdrawal of its troops currently in deployment in South Sudan, and discontinued plans to contribute to the Regional Protection Force (RPF).

The first batch of about 100 troops flew to Kenya on Wednesday.

Kenya’s decision to withdraw its troops who were part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan was in response to the sacking of the Kenyan commander heading the peacekeepers.

The world body accused the peacekeepers of failing to respond to an attack on a Juba-based hotel, leading to the death of several civilians in July.

A report from an independent investigation body prompted the Secretary General to sack Kenya’s Lt. Gen. Johnson Mogoa Kimani.

The South Sudanese opposition group, however, said Kenya’s decision, which also includes disengagement from South Sudan’s peace process, was not a decision expected from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states.

“While it’s within Kenya’s sovereignty, we are dismayed by these unfortunate decisions of the Government of Kenya given its prominent role and responsibilities as a member of IGAD,” the opposition entity said in a release extended to Sudan Tribune.

PDM appealed to AU member states to withhold their support for Kenya’s nominee to head the AU Commission as being untenable, primarily due to its hasty withdrawal of its commitments to regional and international peacekeeping efforts, regardless of the implications to human lives and regional security it was entrusted with.

The group also appealed to Kenya, and particularly on President Uhuru Kenyatta to show restraint and statesmanship in the interest of rebuilding confidence across South Sudan’s political spectrum.

It further condemned Kenya’s recent decision to deport the armed opposition (SPLM-IO) spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, to Juba.

“We are deeply concerned about James Gatdet Dak’s welfare and safety in the hands of the South Sudanese government in Juba and have reasons to believe he is facing torture as a result of his political affiliation,” further read the opposition group’s statement.

Dak’s deportation, it said, violates the ‘Principle of non- refoulement’ (article 33(1)) of the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees1 as well as under customary international law, to which Kenya is obligated.

“It is therefore unfortunate that the government of Kenya intentionally endangers the life of a refugee under its protection, against the advice of UNHCR,” the group said.

The South Sudanese opposition group called on Kenya to “refrain” from actions that could further jeopardize South Sudan’s peace process and regional cohesion, by remaining a neutral partner and upholding its responsibility to regional stability.

PDM commended UN refugee agency’s quest to ensure the safety of over 87,000 South Sudanese refugees in Kenya, and called upon the UN Secretary General to support this commitment, using all means available.

(ST)

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  • 12 November 2016 10:10, by Mayom County Troops

    Let them go in peace , but i does n,t seen an side effect from their withdrawal in South Sudan territory , because UN fail to protect people of South Sudan , by all means

    repondre message

  • 12 November 2016 13:20, by Mopedi

    The Kenyan authorities fed up with our nonsense whether they go or not, and are informing us on how we should address our internal problems, why should we go to Museveni to give advice when we have lots of educated people in and out of SS who are South Sudanese, dearly let’s trust our ability, and use the resources we have to take to the next level.

    repondre message

    • 12 November 2016 13:29, by Mopedi

      When we are at war from 1983 Kenyan with us until 2005 CPA era
      2006 we entered a bilateral relationship, equally good, we destroyed our own peace and blaming Kenyan, are we really mentally challenged, even all these political parties in SS do not have clear Agenda for South Sudanese, It’s about the party and them, where will this lead us? let’s change out this and start thinking strategically

      repondre message

  • 12 November 2016 14:46, by Africa254

    So how does starting a campaign to discredit Kenya’s candidate for AU chair help with the situation in SS? As you have put it, Kenya is one of the major member states of IGAD, they can easily influence the whole of IGAD to abandon SS since no one in SS seems interested in making peace, always blaming the other for the killings

    repondre message

    • 12 November 2016 16:26, by jubaone

      Africa254,
      This was a well thought plan and Kenya just wanted the opportunity to quit. Think of the strenuous energies, time and diplomacy that it took to get the peace deal signed. Then Kiir drags his feet, is reserved and in July wants to Kill Machar. Kiir has taken 5 months just to agree on RPF deployment. That sucks. Kenya is fed up.

      repondre message

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