by WorldTribune Staff, November 3, 2016
The UN force commander for South Sudan was relieved of his duties on Nov. 1 after a report confirmed UN troops under his command failed to protect civilians during outbursts of violence in July.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked for the removal of Force Commander Lt. Gen. Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki of Kenya.
According to an internal UN report, peacekeepers failed to respond to a raid from government soldiers on a popular hotel in Juba called the Terrain Camp. Inside that hotel, the report says that civilians were subjected to “murder, intimidation, sexual violence, and acts amounting to torture perpetrated by armed government soldiers.”
The report found that, in separate incidents, Chinese peacekeepers abandoned some of their defensive positions in South Sudan, and Nepalese peacekeepers were unable to stop looting and showed poor crowd control. Other reports said that UN peacekeepers stood by while women were raped and gang-raped by government soldiers.
“The UN investigation shows that its peacekeeping mission in South Sudan completely failed to protect civilians in Juba,” said Akshaya Kumar, Deputy United Nations Director for Human Rights Watch.
The UN mission’s response to the Terrain Camp incident is described in detail in the report. It came at a time when the UN had been hit with over 100 rounds of small and heavy arms fire, and two Chinese peacekeepers were killed.
Residents inside the camp immediately notified UN security personnel, but “each contingent turned down the request, indicating that their troops were fully committed.”
South Sudan provided a liaison officer to meet with a UN quick reaction force near the UN’s Juba base, but “no response team materialized,” the report says.