South Sudan is on the brink of genocide, the Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan warned members of the UN Security Council.
South Sudan is on the brink of genocide, the Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan warned members of the UN Security Council. On 3 Sept 2016 the Most Rev. Daniel Deng, Archbishop of Juba, urged a 15 member UN delegation to strengthen peacekeeping forces in Africa’s newest nation.
What had begun as a political dispute within the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) between President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar had taken an ominous turn. “People have been made to believe it’s a tribal war,” the archbishop (pictured) told the delegation, adding: “What happened in Rwanda – we’re afraid it can happen in this country,” according to wire service reports of the meeting.
On 4 Sept 2016 the UN Security Council delegation led by US Ambassador Samantha Powers and Senegalese Ambassador Fode Seck, with representatives from Angola, China, Egypt, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela wrapped up a three day visit to Juba to meet with government and civil society leaders.
The visit followed the Security Council’s decision to increase from 4000 to 12000 the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) peacekeeping force tasked with providing security in Juba. Five years after the country’s independence from the Sudan, South Sudan witnessed a fresh outbreak of violence between supporters of President Kiir and former Vice-President Machar, ending an August 2015 truce between the predominantly Dinka supporters of the president and Nuer supporters of the vice-president.
Delegation leaders said they were optimistic the violence in South Sudan would be halted. Ambassador Powers noted the joint communique issued Sunday by the UN delegation and the government said the government would work to remove impediments to the ability of UNMISS to implement its mandate. Ambassador Seck said this was “a very positive visit, both on the side of the government and on the side of the UN Security Council.” The UN had threatened to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan if its government declined to support UN peacekeeping forces.
Reuters reported the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Juba, the Most Rev. Paulino Lukudu Loro told the UN that South Sudan needed peacekeepers as a “reconciliation force,” adding “We need this help. We cannot put our nation on the right track alone.”