NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed Wednesday
to continue spearheading regional peace initiatives to help
bring stability in neighboring South Sudan and Somalia.
committed to strengthening the capacity of the country’s
security forces to keep the peace, noting that without peace the
desire for a better Kenya will remain a mere wish.
He said it is in
Kenya’s interest to have a stable Somalia and South Sudan, two
of the immediate neighboring nations that have been most
affected by insecurity.
Somalia remains troubled, largely by foreign agents, who are
weakening its government and dividing its people, stressing
Kenya will continue supporting Somalia to regain stability.
The foreign agents
troubling Somalia, he said, are also threatening to reverse the
gains won under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)
“Through it all, we
remember that if our brothers and sisters in Somalia prosper, we
prosper; if they are safe, so are we. It has been our policy,
then, to help them regain the peace and prosperity they once
knew,” Kenyatta said.
He said Kenya has
continued helping Somalia secure funding and support
commensurate to its challenges, recalling his visit to Somalia
last year during which he spoke to Kenyan soldiers serving as
part of the AMISOM forces.
Kenyatta told the
country’s lawmakers that Kenya is also engaged in efforts to
support South Sudan in finding a solution to its internal
crisis, noting that Nairobi continues to stand with the people
of South Sudan and has lent support to multilateral peace
“We continue to urge
the leaders of South Sudan to put the interests of their people
and motherland above their own,” said Kenyatta, noting that the
East African Community is making progress with Kenya playing a
leading role in championing integration.
The president said
Kenya is committed to unity of the region and also for the
continent, noting that Nairobi has set a trend by opening its
borders for EAC citizens who can now live and work in the
country more easily than ever.
UN urges South Sudan warring
parties to respect truce deal
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
The UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has called
on the country’s warring parties to abide by the truce agreement
they signed late last year, warning that a surge of violence in
Unity region “looks set to continue despite the ceasefire
David Shearer, the
Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and head of
the UNMISS, called on the parties to fully implement the
Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.
“All sides need to
abide by what they agreed to and their actions on the ground
carefully monitored and scrutinized,” he said late Wednesday
during a visit to Leer and Dublual in the Unity region to see
first-hand the impact of the deteriorating security situation.
According to a
statement issued on Wednesday night after the visit, Shearer and
a team from the UNIMISS met with both government and opposition
leaders in the area, urging them to lay down their weapons,
reconcile, and work together to build durable peace.
He said the signing
of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement last year had given
the peace process momentum, but that it was at risk of
unraveling without genuine political will.
of the conflict is having a serious human impact. Hundreds of
people are sheltering next to the UN base. We saw tukuls (huts)
burnt to the ground. We were told that elderly people and
children had been killed and medical clinics ransacked,” said
He said UNMISS would
continue to fulfill its mandate, adding that the UN mission’s
job is still to protect people and help them get through these
dark times so that the peace process can work.
“We will do all we
can to support the people of South Sudan,” he said.
descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute
between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar
led to split within the SPLA, leaving soldiers to fight
alongside ethnic lines.
The 2015 peace
agreement to end the conflict was weakened after the outbreak of
renewed fighting in July 2016.
South Sudan denies
rumors of president’s illness
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudan President Salva Kiir is
healthy and fit to perform his duties, top presidential aides
said Wednesday amid allegations by a former government physician
that the president is “mentally ill and unfit” to be in office.
spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny described the report as lies and
negative propaganda generated to degrade the image of South
“The president is
very healthy and doing his work normally, therefore there is no
reason to say that he is ill and unfit to lead our country.
Those are lies,” Ateny told Xinhua by phone.
Last week, Mawien
Akot, a former government medical consultant who previously
worked at South Sudan’s biggest public health facility, the Juba
Teaching Hospital, claimed that Kiir is ill and has no mental
and physical ability to rule.
Andrew Akon Akech,
head of the president’s medical unit, denied the accusations and
said Akot has never served in the office of the president.
appoints new army chief
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has
named a senior military officer facing UN travel ban and asset
freeze over alleged violations in the ongoing civil war as new
In a decree
announced on state radio Wednesday evening, Kiir appointed
Gabriel Jok Riak as new head of the Sudan People’s Liberation
Army (SPLA), replacing the late James Ajongo Mawut, who died in
Egypt mid April.
In 2015, the UN
Security Council sanctioned Riak and two other top SPLA
officials over their alleged role in the death of civilians
during the start of the civil war in late 2013.
Three top opposition
officials were also sanctioned by the UN. South Sudan descended
into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of
the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
The UN estimates
that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced
internally and externally.
A peace deal signed
in August 2015 between the rival leaders under United Nations
pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity
government, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.
The next round of
peace talks spearheaded by the East African bloc,
Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), is scheduled
to reconvene in Ethiopia on May 17.
Egypt voices support for
peace efforts in South Sudan
CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua) --
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on
Monday that his country supports efforts to achieve peace in
South Sudan for enhanced security and stability in the African
Sisi made the
remarks during a phone call with South Sudanese President Salva
Egypt will continue
to support South Sudan’s development, pointing to deep relations
between the two countries, Spokesman for Egyptian Presidency
Bassam Radi cited Sisi as saying.
For his part, Kiir
said South Sudan is keen to promote cooperation with Egypt in
He updated Sisi on
the latest political and security developments in South Sudan,
hailing Egypt’s role in promoting stability in his country.
South Sudan, which
gained independence from Sudan in 2011, has been suffering a
civil war since late 2013, months after Kiir’s dismissal of then
Vice President Riek Machar, which led to fighting between Dinka
ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir and Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.
The conflict has
displaced about a third of the 7.5-million population in the