NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 2 – Kenya has withdrawn its peace keeping troops currently deployed in South Sudan protesting the dismissal of Lt. General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki as Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
General Ondieki who is a Kenyan was dismissed by the outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon following a damning report showing failure to protect civilians during violence earlier this year in Juba.
In a statement to newsrooms, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs faulted the move by the UN Secretary-General citing failure on the part of the United Nations to conduct a transparent and consultative process in determining the matter.
According to the government, the UN’s Independent Special Investigation on the fighting in the South Sudan capital fails to address the root causes of the incidences reported while pilling the blame on General Ondieki.
“What is clear is that UNMISS suffers from fundamental structural and systemic dysfunctionality, which has severely hindered its ability to discharge its mandate since its inception,” part of the statement read.
According to the report by Major General (retired) Patrick Cammaert, UNMISS response in Juba under the leadership of General Ondieki was “chaotic and ineffective” hence its failure to respond to acts of sexual violence in and around the Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites.
About a dozen aid workers and UN staff housed at the Terrain Hotel compound are said to have been attacked by South Sudanese soldiers on July 11, but the peacekeepers, failed to come to their aid despite their presence 1.2 Kilometres away from the hotel compound, according to the report.
The government also dismissed a request by Ban Ki Moon to offer a replacement for General Ondieki saying the move would shield the Department Peace Keeping Operations (DPKO) from answering hard questions on its responsibility to facilitate the proper management of UNMISS.
“The manner in which the information was conveyed to the Government of Kenya revealed a high degree of disrespect for our country, and lack of confidence in our troops and their contribution to regional peace processes,” read the statement.
The government also disclosed that the continued deployment of Kenyan troops to South Sudan would no longer be tenable saying deployments would be inimical to the safety and well-being of the soldiers.
Lieutenant General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki has been the UNMISS force commander since May.