UN: South Sudan government still not cooperating on deployment of Regional Force

UN Security Council in session (Photo: extracted).
UN Security Council in session (Photo: extracted).

18 Jan, 2017 (Nyamilepedia) — The United Nations has renewed accusation against the government of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir for not cooperating positively in regards to deployment of the new Regional Protection Force authorised the by the UNSC resolution in order to restore security in South Sudan and give protection to civilians and victims of war atrocities in the capital Juba.

According to a latest report released on the 16th of January by the United Nations, the world body said it doubts the willingness of the South Sudan government to cooperate with the deployment of thousands more peacekeepers and urged the Security Council to apply “credible pressure,” so the government could cooperate.

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This comes after senior South Sudanese government officials including the Minister of Defence and a senior presidential advisor all making statements in recent weeks opposing any deployment of the UN’s Regional Protection Force to the country.

South Sudan’s information minister Michael Makuei also said during a press briefing that the government would not allow the UN Regional Protection Force unless a new resolution was approved by the UN Security Council.

“These statements by key officials in charge of defense and security shed doubt on the government’s actual willingness to actively cooperate with the deployment and operationalization of the force, unless credible pressure is applied by the council and the region to support it,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a confidential report to the Security Council.

The UN Security Council had last August authorised the deployment of 4,000-strong regional protection force of the U.N. peacekeeping mission to South Sudan’s capital Juba to protect civilians and stabilise the security situation after hundreds civilians were killed, hundreds of women raped, properties looted and vandalised, hundreds illegally detained by government soldiers.

The UN Security council had threatened an arms embargo if the government did not cooperate on the deployment of the Regional forces and did not stop hindering the movement and activities of peacekeepers in the country, the government then approved the  UN deployment in December in order to escape sanctions and an arms embargo.

South Sudan has been ravaged by a bloody and ethnic civil war since 2013 between supporters of President Silva Kiir and those of former Vice President Riek Machar, a peace agreement was signed in august 2015 leading to Riek Machar returning to Juba in April last year as the First Vice President to implement the peace agreement.

However in July of the same year forces loyal to president Silva Kiir launched a surprising and heavy attack on Riek Machars bases around the capital Juba forcing the First Vice President to flee the capital due to safety and security threat to himself and his forces, however hundreds of civilians were killed, properties destroyed and hundreds of women raped in the attacks by soldiers loyal to president Silva Kiir and also some rebel soldiers.

President Silva Kiir is believed to have then struck a deal with Machars former negotiator Taban Deng Gai and appointed Taban Deng as the new First Vice President in the absence of Riek Machar. However the move has been criticised by opposition members and observers as illegal and a serious violation of the peace agreement.

The new report released by the new UN Secretary General said the government needed to issue visas for advance teams linked to the deployment of the regional protection force. He said if those visits could be completed by the end of January, the first troops for the force could be on the ground by the end of February or in March.

“The trend of bureaucratic impediments and restrictions continues to constrain the mission’s capacity to carry out it’s mandated tasks, and its ability to project presence in locations where civilians are in need of protection, including from ethnically driven attacks,” The Secretary General said in the new report.

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