South Sudan warring factions have received the decision to deploy a regional peacekeeping force in the country with mixed reactions.
An official from president Salva Kiir faction and Minister for Cabinet Affairs said the decision taken by Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to re-enforce the UN Mission in South Sudan was “Unfortunate” and “will not work”.
“That proposal will not work, because a problem is not solved by another problem and this thinking is unfortunate” said minister Martin Elia Lomuro in an interview with Sudan Tribune.
Meanwhile the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In opposition (SPLM-IO) under it’s leader Dr. Riek Machar welcomed the move saying it would guarantee security of its officials who feel threatened by attacks from government forces.
Machar’s Spokesperson James Gatdet told the media earlier that a peacekeeping force was long overdue.
“President Kiir is not in control of incidents that occur around him. He is not in control of his army commanders and other organized forces. So how do you trust protection from a leader who is not in control, or who might have been blessing violent actions of his commanders or security personnel?” Gatdet wondered.
IGAD in a statement asked warring factions in South Sudan to demilitarize Juba and give way for regional forces to harmonies relations in Juba.
Earlier, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta told UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon that the region, would urgently provide more troops to the UNMISS and provide protection to leadership and the citizens.
“We have all watched events in South Sudan with sorrow. Our youngest brother has fallen, yet again, into division and violence. It is our responsibility – all of us, but especially those in the region – to restore peace, and to restore it durably,” said President Kenyatta according to the statement from his office.
“Let me be clear: those of us in the region have primary responsibility for peace and security here. But that responsibility is also collective – all of us must think carefully, and work hard, in the cause of peace,” he added.
Kenyatta asked UN Security Council to modify the mandate of UNMISS “so that it can separate those who have turned to violence, so that it can protect the infrastructure South Sudan has built, and so that it can enforce the peace. That is what collective responsibility means.”
East Africa Community, IGAD, The African Union (AU) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have all agreed to send additional troops to Juba to restore peace.
The IGAD Executive Secretary, Mahboub Maalim, proposed a three-fold approach to addressing the South Sudan crisis.
“First, impose an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan. Second, enact additional targeted sanctions on leaders and commanders working to unravel the peace process. Third, fortify the UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS,” the IGAD Executive Secretary said.
The top regional official said that the chiefs of staff from five countries comprising Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda have proposed reinforcement of UNMISS troops from the region under the same UNMISS mandate.
Among the proposals was to task the south Sudan government to give way to humanitarian assistance to reach people in need.
The UN earlier called on the leadership to lift and embargo imposed on their activities during the clashes so to allow unhindered access to mission patrols to protect the civilian population.
“The government must uphold it responsibility and open up corridors to allow UN and humanitarian actors to provide vital supplies and other assistance to the affected civilians, as well as access for medical evacuations,” sounded the call from UNMISS.
With Files from Sudan Tribune