, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale on Tuesday withdrew a Special Motion seeking Parliament’s approval to deploy Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers in South Sudan.
Duale told the House that the move has been necessitated by Monday’s consultative meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts from the Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD) states.
He said a fresh motion will be introduced after further negotiations on logistical issues and the number of troops needed for the peace keeping mission is agreed.
“Following the high level meeting yesterday between the US Secretary of State, Foreign Affairs Ministers from IGAD and our security team they are still dealing with the logistics and we will then next week or later this week tell the House the actual number of troops which Kenya and all the other countries are willing to contribute. I would like to withdraw it until next week when all the consultations are complete,” he said.
The United Nations Security Council authorised the deployment of a 4,000-strong protection force in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, as part of the UN Peacekeeping Mission and threatened an arms embargo if the government does not cooperate.
Fierce fighting erupted in Africa’s youngest nation after soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar fought each other in July leading to more than 100,000 people fleeing across the border.
The South Sudan rebel leader is reported to have fled to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Speaking during a joint news conference with Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Amina Mohamed, the US Secretary of State called the situation in South Sudan “tragic and reprehensible.”
Kerry said that boasted UNMISS force, mandated under the UN to help protect Juba specifically, would help provide security for civilians and improve the mobility and effectiveness of troops already there under UNMISS.
On her part Mohamed, said details were being discussed. She said it was important that a “gradual deployment” happen “sooner, not later,” but didn’t provide details.
UNMISS has been heavily criticised for failing to intervene to protect civilian lives in July in Juba, and for failing to help South Sudanese women as well as Western aid workers who were sexually assaulted close to its base in separate incidents, according to eyewitnesses and a preliminary UN investigation.
UNMISS is now investigating both cases.