News / Africa

South Sudan President: UN Seeking to Take Over

  • United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gestures during a press conference in the Philippines on Sunday Dec. 22, 2013, at which he expressed grave concern about the deteriorating security situation in South Sudan.
  • President Salva Kiir says UNMISS stopped short of appointing its chief, Hilde Johnson, shown here holding a video news conference from Juba, South Sudan on Dec. 26, 2013, 11 days after the violence in South Sudan began, as "co-president."
  • Civilians fleeing violence seek refuge at UN compound in Bor, Jonglei state, South Sudan, Dec. 18, 2013. The U.N. says 70,000 people have sought refuge at its bases.
  • A displaced woman stirs fortified cereal mix at the U.N. compound where she has sought shelter in Juba, Dec. 23, 2013.
  • The U.N.'s top humanitarian official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, assesses the situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, Unity state, South Sudan, Dec. 24, 2013. (UNMISS)
  • Handout photo taken Dec. 20, 2013 released by UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) shows the remains of two UN soldiers from the Indian Battalion who were killed in an attack on a U.N. base in Akobo, in Jonglei state. (AFP Photo /UNMISS/Rolla Hinedi)
  • South Sudan's President Salva Kiir gestures during a news conference in Juba, Dec. 18, 2013. Kiir says the U.N. Mission in South Sudan was set up as a parallel government to his.

Kiir Says UN Seeks S. Sudan Takeover
South Sudan President Salva Kiir has accused the United Nations of seeking to take over the young country and speculated that the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) may have pushed his political rival, former Vice President Riek Machar, to rise up against the government.

"We did not know, when the UNMISS was brought to South Sudan, they were brought as a parallel government to the government of South Sudan," Kiir told reporters in Juba late Monday.

We did not know, when the UNMISS was brought to South Sudan, they were brought as a parallel government to the government of South Sudan.
"But they showed very clearly in this conflict that UNMISS was brought here to be the government of the south and they fell short of naming the chief of the UNMISS as co-president of South Sudan," he said, referring to UNMISS head, Hilde Johnson.

Kiir was speaking a day after South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth was barred access to the U.N. compound in Bor, where some 10,000 people have sought refuge, and hours after at least 32 civilians and two U.N. contractors were wounded by gunfire at the U.N. base in Malakal as fighting between government and opposition forces raged nearby.

UNMISS officials said they refused access to Makuei because his bodyguards were armed, and the U.N. has a strict "no weapons" policy on its facilities. Makuei's bodyguards reportedly threatened U.N. staff before withdrawing.

More than 70,000 civilians have sought shelter on eight U.N. bases in South Sudan since clashes erupted in mid-December between pro- and anti-government forces. Around 22,000 civilians are sheltering at the U.N. base in Malakal, the capital of oil-producing Upper Nile state.

A young woman runs through the street as gunshots ring out a few streets over, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan.A young woman runs through the street as gunshots ring out a few streets over, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan.
A young woman runs through the street as gunshots ring out a few streets over, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan.
A young woman runs through the street as gunshots ring out a few streets over, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan.
In a statement released Monday, UNMISS condemned the "fighting taking place nearby its bases" and echoed a call made by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for all parties in the conflict "to respect the integrity of U.N. installations" and the security of civilians and U.N. personnel.

But in his statement to reporters, Kiir accused Ban of wanting to take over South Sudan by installing UNMISS as a parallel government.

"If that is the position of Ban Ki-moon, he should make it clear that he wants the U.N. to take over South Sudan so that nobody bothers around any other person," Kiir said.

"And if they were the ones who were instigating Riek Machar to take this action, they really ill-advised him," Kiir said.

The U.N. reacted to Kiir's statement with a call for leaders on both sides of the South Sudan conflict to not make statements that could exacerbate tensions in the country.

Comments against the U.N. mission from senior government and anti-government figures "risk enflaming the situation and being taken by others as incitement to violence against civilians and U.N. personnel," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said.

"It's time for careful, measured public statements, aimed at calming, not enflaming the situation," he said.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its most recent report that 494,000 people are internally displaced in South Sudan and 86,100 have fled to neighboring countries.

UNMISS, which the Security Council has ordered reinforced by another 5,500 troops, bringing its total to nearly 14,000, said it has conducted more than 140 patrols in the past 24 hours, including in various locations in the capital, Juba, and in the three states most affected by the ongoing fighting -- Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile.

No precise death toll has been established for the more than five weeks of fighting in South Sudan, but a top U.N. official said this week after a visit to the country that "many thousands" were likely to have been killed. Among the dead are two U.N. peacekeepers who were killed in an attack last month on a U.N. base in Akobo, Jonglei state.

The same official, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic, on Monday said both sides in the conflict are suspected of involvement in human rights violations, some of which may be war crimes.

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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
January 22, 2014 7:43 PM
UN is right, it would be extremely foolish to trust the Kiir -SPLM-faction in the regime to do protect or treat fairly any Nuer civilians or soldiers taking refuge in camps. Many Nuer were killed at at the start of the " Kiir concocted or so called coup", now the tribes have revenge and counter revenge. Kiir has failed to govern. Machar may have a tainted past, but that does not excuse crimes of Kiir & company or any other or Machar and followers.
The reports of UN are more balanced I believe compared to what Kiir's junta says. The atrocities in war sometimes are committed by one group to use and blame their opponents. This method is used in Syria today, was used in Rwanda and was used in Luwero in Uganda by the now close advisers of Kiir , namley Museveni and Kagame. So the bottom line the Kiir regime can no longer be trusted at all, that is if it had any trust before. UN must stick to its principles or get a tougher mandate if needed like was done for DRC. Otherwise the chaos Kiir is exploiting with his buddies Museveni and Kagame will make S-Sudan turn out worse than DRC.

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