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Probe torture of peace team, Kenya tells South Sudan

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By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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Kenya has demanded for investigations by South Sudan authorities into an attack on peace monitors who were detained and tortured by security personnel last Tuesday.

Four military officers from Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan working under the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM), were detained for five hours and beaten in Luri, Central Equatoria by South Sudanese soldiers.

They were also robbed of their money and items such as silver wedding rings. The soldiers threatened to kill the team driver for taking them to Luri, some 10km from Juba.

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Amb Macharia Kamau described the attack as an affront on human rights. The incident, which occurred on December 18, involved a training centre of the National Security Service (NSS), where the monitors had gone to verify reports that President Salva Kiir’s government was training new recruits contrary to the agreement.

“The government of Kenya calls upon the government of South Sudan to thoroughly and expeditiously investigate the incident and bring security personnel responsible to account,” PS Kamau said.

“Further, it grossly undermines efforts by the Intergovernmental Governmental Authority on Development (Igad)and the goodwill of the international community in helping South Sudanese Parties and stakeholders to resolve the security and political crisis in the country,” he continued.

Kenya said the attack is also a violation of the agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access signed by South Sudan’s warring parties on December 21, 2017.

United States, Norway and the UK have also condemned the attack saying any action that compromises the safety, integrity and free movement of CTSAMVM is unacceptable.

Already, some of the soldiers have been arrested and investigations launched according to South Sudan’s government. Findings of the investigations will be shared with Igad member states.

“The Transitional Government of National Unity would like to reiterate its full commitment to implementing the revitalised agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the republic of South Sudan in letter and spirit,” Juba said on Friday.

This is not the first Kenya is protesting that its efforts in spearheading peace were not being taken seriously in South Sudan.

In February, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said failure to honour a ceasefire agreement signed by South Sudan’s government and rebel groups to end a four-year civil war last December forced Kenya to issue a travel advisory to parts of the nation.

At around the same time, two Kenyan pilots were detained by rebels in South Sudan after their plane crashed. Captain Pius Frank Njoroge and his co-pilot Kennedy Shamalla were under the custody of Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) for over a month.

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