U.N. peacekeepers said to abandon posts during Juba fighting

JUBA (6 Oct.)

U.N. peacekeepers abandoned their posts and performed inadequately during the July fighting in Juba, a U.N. watchdog said in a report released today.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission “underperformed in protecting civilians inside and outside its bases,” said Federico Borello, Executive Director at the Center for Civilians in Conflict.

During the fighting, the report said that UNMISS’s protection was almost nonexistent, which resulted in devastating consequences for South Sudanese civilians and aid workers. Government and rebel soldiers clashed in Juba on July 8th, and much of the fighting centered around the U.N. protection of civilians site in Juba.

The report highlighted the extent to which government forces obstructed UNMISS.

“The UN peacekeeping mission faced a challenging environment during the July violence in Juba,” Borello said.

Forces killed and injured civilians in the Juba displacement camps with “indiscriminate gun and artillery fire,” the report said. It added that government forces broke into a popular hotel executing one South Sudanese journalist, and raped aid workers.

“The Security Council should immediately impose an arms embargo, both to help protect civilians from further harm and in response to the national government’s obstruction of the UN Mission in South Sudan,” the Center for Civilians in Conflict said in a statement.