KIGALI — The African Union (AU) might send peacekeeping forces to South Sudan, in a bid to end the on going violence that broke out on Sunday between former rebels and government soldiers.
Thousands of civilians are reported to have fled the capital Juba, when heavy fighting erupted and about 300 people were killed, including two Chinese peacekeepers.
In a closed door emergency meeting during the 27th AU Summit in Kigali on Monday, delegates discussed the possibility of sending a neutral armed force to separate both groups of fighters, protect the unarmed civilians and enforce the peace agreement signed in August last year.
“The peace and security council is considering sending troops if need be, and you know that under article four of the assembly that we can do so. I think you will see the outcome of this meeting, but the determination is there to act on the situation, including sending a force,” Ambassador Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, said in an interview.
Chergui however, did not disclose the timeline when the decision, if made, would be implemented All Africa
At least 36,000 people have been displaced as a result of the fighting that has flared in the South Sudanese capital Juba in recent days, according to the UN refugee agency in GENEVA.
At a news briefing, the UNHCR representatives called on armed parties to protect civilians and demanded neighbouring countries keep their borders open for people fleeing from the violence.
“Inside South Sudan, some 7,000 internally displaced people have sought shelter in the UN’s bases in Juba,” said spokesman Leo Dobbs.
“Providing them with food, shelter, water, hygiene and sanitation facilities will remain a critical challenge so long as the security situation remains bad.”
The agency noted that security at the Uganda-South Sudan crossing had been tightened, restricting the number of individuals crossing to seek asylum.
“Just 95 people crossed on Saturday, dropping to 36 on Sunday, compared with a daily average of 167 for July and 171 for June,” said Dobbs.
“Those that have managed to cross have reported indiscriminate attacks against civilians, with buses from Juba to the Uganda border being stopped and robbed.”
Fighting broke out between troops loyal to rival leaders President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar on the eve of the five-year-old country’s independence anniversary last week, killing hundreds of people.
Clashes reportedly subdued Wednesday, but a Sudanese committee for evacuations said in KHARTOUM that thousands of Sudanese want to be evacuated from Juba.
Sudan’s technical committee for evacuations announced that there are 3,000 Sudanese citizens in Juba, willing to be immediately evacuated from the capital.
El Rashid Abdelatif, the chief of the operation bureau of the committee said that more than 50,000 Sudanese live in South Sudan. “They are scattered in various cities and most of them are traders.”
Source: Name News Network