UN chief “deeply distressed” by South Sudan violence findings

The UN Secretary-General has said he is “deeply distressed” by the findings of a report by a special investigation team on the violence in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, in July, and the actions of the UN mission in the country, UNMISS.

More than 70 people were killed in the three days of fighting, including more than 20 internally displaced people staying in UN protection of civilian sites.

Two UN peacekeepers were also killed.

Dianne Penn reports

The Independent Special Investigation was carried out by a retired Dutch Major General Patrick Cammaert.

It found that UNMISS did not respond effectively to the violence due to an overall lack of leadership, preparedness and integration among the various components of the mission.

It also found that command and control arrangements were inadequate, while peacekeepers maintained a risk-averse posture.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General had this to say about UNMISS and the response of South Sudan’s leaders.

“The Secretary-General is deeply distressed by these findings. He reiterates his outrage over the acts of violence committed in Juba in July and the continuing betrayal of the people of South Sudan by too many of its leaders. The Secretary-General recognises that UNMISS has saved hundreds of thousands of lives over the past three years, including in its PoC sites, and commends the Mission’s personnel for their dedication. He is, nonetheless, alarmed by the serious shortcomings identified by the Special Investigation, which were evident in the mission’s failure to fully implement its mandate to protect civilians and UN staff during the fighting.”

The Special Investigation was unable to verify allegations that peacekeepers failed to respond to acts of sexual violence committed directly in front of them on 17 and 18 July.

The UN Secretary-General has asked for the “immediate replacement” of the Force Commander, Lieutenant General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki of Kenya.

Dianne Penn, United Nations

Duration: 1’38?

Source: United Nations Radio.