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South Sudan cabinet okays deployment of UN regional protection force

South Sudan cabinet okays deployment of UN regional protection force

South Sudan

The South Sudanese government has accented the deployment of a United Nations (UN)-mandated regional force in the capital, Juba.

This follows months of hesitation by the government as to whether to allow foreign troops into the restive country. There are no details as to when and where in the capital the force will be stationed.

The Deputy Information Minister, Akol Paul Kordit, is quoted to have said, “Cabinet has resolved unanimously to allow the deployment of the regional protection force anytime from now.”

Cabinet has resolved unanimously to allow the deployment of the regional protection force anytime from now.

A UN-backed media, Radio Miraya, also confirmed on Friday that the South Sudanese cabinet had accepted the immediate deployment of a regional protection force.

South Sudan broke away from Sudan in 2011. But fighting, largely along ethnic lines, erupted in 2013 after President Salva Kiir sacked his longtime political rival Riek Machar from the post of vice president.

A peace deal, agreed in 2015 under intense international pressure and the threat of sanctions, brought Machar back to the capital Juba in April, but he fled after more clashes and the violence has continued.

The UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has a 16,000-strong force in the country. In the wake of the July clashes that forced Machar to flee Juba, the UN Security Council authorised the deployment of an additional 4,000 troops.

Kiir initially opposed the deployment of additional troops as a breach of national sovereignty but later agreed to their deployment on September 4. The UN accused the government of not doing much to ensure that the troop deployment takes place.

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