South Sudan Conflict: Regional Troops To Be Sent In By African Union

Africa’s youngest country which seems to have made a sport out of warring to the detriment of their citizens should soon get an influx of regional troops to stem the violence.

The African Union has approved the regional troops for the South Sudan conflict.

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The South Sudan conflict flared up again when a disagreement between rival soldiers at a checkpoint led to a shootout  on the evening of 7 July in which five soldiers died. This quickly escalated into serious fighting the next day and over the following weekend.

To stem the South Sudan conflict, African leaders have backed plans to deploy regional troops to South Sudan after the recent fighting between the rival forces actually left hundreds of people dead. Soldiers for the African Union (AU) force are to come from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, and Uganda.

South Sudan conflict

Already there is a 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force is already in the country, but the AU force would have a stronger mandate, officials said.

President Salva Kiir and his rival, Vice-President Riek Machar, announced a ceasefire last week, after which rival leader Riek Machar had left the country, but the clashes over the few days had caused a serious dent in the recent peace deal.

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As to the need to send in forces from the AU even in the presence of UN forces, the AFP news agency quotes AU Peace and Security Commissioner Smail Chergui as saying at the AU summit in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali;

“The UN doesn’t have the mandate to impose peace…They are there where there is peace to keep. African troops are ready to engage in very difficult situations.”

He then went on to explain that the mission would be similar to the deployment of a 3,000-strong special force that took on the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2013. UN chief Ban Ki-moon has already expressed his support for the deployment of AU troops over the weekend.

South Sudan conflict

The international community played a major role in the creation of South Sudan, which would explin why it has tried to exercise some influence since independence in 2011. Many foreign nationals have been evacuated because of the most recent unrest.