The African Report
March 12, 2014(AR) — The government of South Sudan has accused the United Nations of siding with rebels in the country’s civil war.
President Salva Kiir’s government is now demanding that the UN should exit South Sudan after a UN convoy was caught with arms allegedly destined for rebel forces.
This is a very, very regrettable mistake because it sent absolutely wrong signals.
On Monday, over 1,000 people protested in the capital city of Juba, asking the UN to leave.
Some protesters demanded the resignation of UN South Sudan special representative Hilda Johnson.
“Down Hilda Johnson. Go away,” protesters chanted.
Government forces intercepted a UN convoy marked as carrying food on Friday. Upon search, the convoy was found to contain weapons.
Kiir had accused the UN of running a “parallel government” in his country. Analysts have argued that anti-UN animosity will grow in the war-ridden country following the arms incident.
However, the UN has denied that the arms were destined for rebels. According to UN spokeswoman Ariane Quentier the weapons were destined for Ghanaian troops who had just arrived in South Sudan to join the UN peacekeeping forces.
“This is a very, very regrettable mistake because it sent absolutely wrong signals,” Quentier said.
South Sudan was thrown into a civil war when fighting broke out between troops loyal to Kiir clashed with those loyal to sacked deputy Riek Machar.
A ceasefire was brokered between the two sides in January, but both sides have violated the agreement.
Over 860,000 people have reportedly fled their homes since the fighting began last December.
- Top UN officials in South Sudan travel to strife-ridden north to meet displaced civilians
- South Sudan government seeks UN exit