South Sudan

South Sudan: Protection Force to Guard Civilians not Machar

Kenya's Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Muhammed with South Sudan First Vice President Gen Taban Deng Gai, on the sidelines of 2nd IGAD Plus Extraordinary Summit which took place  in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

South Sudan government has explained the role of a regional force set for deployment in the country, drug saying it will largely be focused on protection of displaced persons.

Information Minister, approved Hon Michael Makuei told scribes in Juba on Saturday that what was agreed upon by IGAD heads of state in Addis Ababa was a ‘protection force’ not an ‘intervention force’.

He said the mandate of the force will be tasked with protection for IDPs, buy NGOs and Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission officials who monitor the progress in implementation of the peace agreement in Africa’s youngest nation.

Makuei, who was flanked by the Minister of Petroleum Hon Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, said that IGAD and government of South Sudan agreed in principle that “the mandate of the force, its number, its funding and deployment will be [negotiated] and agreed with the government.”

He added: “The idea of intervention force was rejected. It is not acceptable.”

The armed opposition had called for the intervention force to provide security to Dr Riek Machar and prepare ground for general elections.

The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Amb. Mahboub Maalim said the Heads of State of member states have directed the chiefs of staff to go to Juba and discuss the modalities of deployment of the protection force with the government of South Sudan.

“The Government of South Sudan has accepted with no condition the deployment of protection force,” he said.

It remains unclear to ChimpReports why no communiqué was issued by IGAD at the end of the meeting.

The South Sudan delegation was led by the new First Vice President, Gen Taban Deng Gai.

Officials emphasised that IGAD only agreed to discuss with the government of South Sudan to increase the numbers of peacekeepers force which should only protect civilians under United Nations protection sites but it’s up to the government to accept the proposals.

“Our country has a laws and regulations that’s why the world in large didn’t agreed for interventions troops,” said a South Sudan official.

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