UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday sacked the commander of the peacekeeping force in South Sudan following a damning report showing failure to protect civilians during recent violence in Juba. The report from a UN special investigation found that a lack of leadership in the UN mission culminated in a “chaotic and ineffective response” during the heavy fighting in the capital from July 8 to 11.
Peacekeepers abandoned their posts and failed to respond to pleas for help from aid workers under attack in a nearby hotel, according to a summary of the report. The UN mission known as UNMISS has 16,000 troops deployed in South Sudan, which has been at war since December 2013.
“The special investigation found that UNMISS did not respond effectively to the violence due to an overall lack of leadership, preparedness and integration among the various components of the mission,” said UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric. Chinese peacekeepers abandoned their positions at least twice and Nepalese peacekeepers failed to stop looting inside the UN compound, the enquiry found.
Ban said he was “deeply distressed by these findings” and “alarmed by the serious shortcomings identified by the special investigation”. The UN chief “has asked for the immediate replacement of the force commander”, said Dujarric, adding that other measures would follow. Lieutenant General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki of Kenya had been the force commander since May.