April 13, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudan government on Thursday contested comments attributed to a British minister, who was quoted saying “genocide” was slowly taking shape in the war-torn East African country.
- S. Sudan cabinet minister Martin Elia Lomoro (Photo KT Press)
While briefing journalists in Uganda on Wednesday, the U.K Secretary for International Development, Priti Patel described the fighting in South Sudan as tribal, warning of its consequences on the international community.
“The fighting in South Sudan is absolutely tribal, so on that basis it is genocide”, said Patel.
The British official reportedly protested a meeting that was scheduled with South Sudan President Salva Kiir, accusing South Sudan government of blocking delivery of relief aid to thousands of civilians affected a conflict that has raged on since December 2013.
Patel urged Kiir to ensure immediate measures are taken to lift the blockage, stressing that should the South Sudan leaders fail to do so, then the “international community will undertake consequences".
But South Sudan’s cabinet affairs minister, Martin Elia Lomoru said the government was doing the best to restore security, stability and peace in the country, not giving negative signals about the situation.
“Genocide, it is not right. There are no indications. The incidents that are occurring here and there should not be equated to genocide because there is no such policy to kill with intent. Those who coined and use these are terms are alarmists with the objective to magnify isolated incidents out of proportion. We know them,” said Lomoru.
He added, “But what they are advocating to occur will take place in South Sudan”.
The minister urged international organisations to appreciate government’s role in implementing the 2015 peace deal, appreciating regional and international organisations for their efforts to help realise security and stability.
He further called on organisations to respect government’s efforts to restore peace.