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UN decries ‘harassment’ of South Sudan peacekeepers

UN staff delivering food to Sudan/FILE

UN staff delivering food to Sudan/FILE

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 19 – A senior UN official accused South Sudan on Tuesday of waging a campaign of harassment against peacekeepers and called on the Security Council to immediately intervene.

There have been increasing tensions between the government of President Salva Kiir and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), which is trying to contain violence that broke out in December and escalated into full-scale fighting between Kiir’s tribe and rebels.

“There has been a negative campaign against UNMISS and its leadership in South Sudan which seems systematic and organized,” said Herve Ladsous, the UN’s peacekeeping chief, identifying “harassment of UN personnel, including to the point of putting their lives in danger.”

It was “not sustainable or acceptable,” he said.

He added: “Under these conditions we will need to consider further drawing-down of our staff and limiting our activities to the absolute minimum related to protection, human-rights monitoring and support to humanitarian assistance.

“I would urge the Security Council and its members to intervene on behalf of the UNMISS, condemn this campaign and request President Kiir to immediately condemn it himself and issue instructions to national and local authorities and SPLM cadres to stop it.”

The SPLM is the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.

South Sudan Ambassador Francis Deng responded that Kiir “was very grateful for the role played by the UN in the country,” adding that the country “has nothing to gain and everything to lose by alienating the UN.”

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