A diplomatic row looms between Kenya and South Sudan after President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed support for more troops to be deployed in South Sudan.
Kenyatta stated that there was the need for urgent reinforcement and change of mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping troops in South Sudan (UNMISS) following the recent clashes in Juba on Sunday .
“Let me be clear: those of us in the region have primary responsibility for peace and security here. But that responsibility is also collective all of us must think carefully, and work hard, in the cause of peace”
“If I may be direct, that means that those outside the region ought to support our efforts to bring peace to South Sudan, and elsewhere,” Kenyatta said while addressing the press after his meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
South Sudan through Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Elia Lomuro responded to Kenyatta’s proposal terming it “unfortunate.”
“That proposal will not work, because a problem is not solved by another problem and this thinking is unfortunate. Kenyan government should have done better than this,” Mr Lomuro told Sudan Tribune.
The exchange comes amid plans by the African Union to send troops drawn from Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda to South Sudan for peace-keeping. The soldiers are, however, not allowed to engage in combat but to guard civilians and monitor violation of human rights.
Despite a cease-fire order by South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar, the security situation in the world’s youngest country remains unpredictable.
Slightly a week ago renewed fighting broke out in Juba between soldiers loyal to Kiir and Machar leading to the death of more than 200 people.
After relative calm returned in Juba, Kiir opposed any arrangements to send more foreign troops to his country.