, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28 – A rights group has petitioned the African Union to act fast to restore peace in the war torn South Sudan.
The group dubbed the International Friends of South Sudan accuse the international community of being slow in its response despite the continued violence.
The group’s Executive Secretary Simon Kamau says Kenya should lead the peace talks.
“We petition President Uhuru Kenyatta through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take up the South Sudan crisis as a Kenyan crisis and see to it that no more killings are going on,” he said.
“The government should not hesitate to send a peace keeping force to save South Sudan from sinking any further into in this mess. Such forces however must only be mandated to protect people and property and not align with any of the conflicting sides.”
Addressing journalists on Monday, he said the African Union should seize this opportunity and prove its efficiency saying it should not wait for the international community to act first.
“The silence by African heads of states in so far as this genocide is concerned casts overwhelming doubts about their commitment in protecting people’s lives and property,” he pointed out
“The ‘never again’ slogan that followed the Rwanda genocide seems to have been mere political rhetoric by African leaders. This is because the African leaders have failed Africa; their interests one clearly sees are not those of African people.”
Kamau also said “UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has to know that the world is watching his reluctant way of addressing the situation in South Sudan which may turn out to be the defining occasion of his legacy.”
“We feel he is failing the UN and the world at large.”
President Kenyatta has since condemned the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians caught up in the internal conflict of the South Sudan Liberation Movement.
He said it was unacceptable for the world to remain silent as innocent citizens continue being killed.
“During the 20th commemoration of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, I expressed our region’s disappointment at having done little to nothing at the time to end the slaughter of a million innocent human beings in Rwanda by a bloodthirsty cabal,” he said.
“I also pledged, in the name of Kenya and the region that we would never again allow a similar genocide to happen within our shores.”
“I return to the pledge today because of what is happening in parts of South Sudan, we are outraged and gravely concerned at seeing the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians caught up in the internal conflict of the South Sudan Liberation Movement. We refuse to be witnesses to such atrocities and to remain helpless and hopeless in their wake.”
He said both parties in South Sudan must honour the agreement they signed earlier to maintain peace.