By: JOHN NGIRACHU, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, APR/27/2014, Daily Nation, Kenya;
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has claimed that foreigners who helped the country attain its independence are now backing rebels in the bloody conflict that has killed thousands since December last year.
President Kiir said the foreigners, who he did not name, feel they helped the country secede from Sudan but were not “compensated” for their contribution.
Outsiders funding rebels
because they did not get
contracts, says President
Kenya and Rwanda pledge
to send troops to Juba
He told the Tana High-Level Forum on security in Africa in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, that the on-going fighting in South Sudan is all about the abundant natural resources in that country.
He said since the country got its independence from Sudan in 2011, several people, presumably foreigners, have sought to stake a claim there because of their contribution to the protracted struggle.
“People have come to fight us indirectly by saying they haven’t had a slice of the profits yet they “brought the independence” while the South Sudanese actually fought for and got their independence,” said President Kiir.
“They are backing the rebellion we are fighting now,” he added.
He said the rebellion led by his former Vice President Riek Machar is backed by people who stole from South Sudan and have resisted attempts to get back the money they acquired illicitly when the government of Africa’s youngest state was set up.
“They go make agreements and say, ‘The day we take over power, we’re going to kick out those people who have the concessions for oil and bring you in.’ That is what they want,” he said.
Fighting broke out in Juba in December 2013 between troops loyal to President Kiir and their colleagues allied to Mr Machar.
It eventually spread to other parts of the country and took on an ethnic dimension, with thousands killed and both sides implicated in war crimes and gross human rights abuses.
President Kiir accused Dr Machar of being behind the alleged coup in December but Dr Machar denies the charges and refers to the President as a genocidal leader.
The South Sudan government last week released four senior politicians accused of treason and inciting the initial break-out of fighting but charges against Dr Machar remains. He is in hiding.
Talks between the two sides have been going on in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told President Kiir that because he is still the Head of State, the buck would at the end of the day stop him.
Speaking separately, Kenya and Rwanda’s foreign ministers said East Africa region will not sit back and watch bloodshed continue in South Sudan.
Both Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and her Rwandan counterpart Louise Mushikiwabo pledged that their countries would send peacekeepers to Juba.
“The killing of innocent civilians is unacceptable and we are disappointed that the parties fighting did not live up to the peace deal. We are committed to see an end to the butchery in our region. We have already sent in a battalion in the country to assist quell the violence,” said Ms Mohammed in Nairobi. END