Nairobi – Kenya’s president said he would not let the conflict in neighbouring South Sudan descend into genocide, though he stopped short of spelling out any action to end the increasingly ethnic slaughter.
Four months of fighting between government and rebels in the world’s newest nation has raised fears of a wider conflict that could further destabilise a fragile region and send hundreds of thousands more refugees over borders.
Uganda, another neighbour of oil-producing South Sudan, has already sent in troops to back the government. Regional bloc IGAD, which is brokering troubled peace talks, has said it will hold a meeting in coming days to “consider options”.
“We refuse to be witnesses to such atrocities and to remain helpless and hopeless in their wake,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement late on Friday.
“We especially reject the possibility that we are creeping into genocide again in our region. We shall not stand by and allow it to happen.”
Fighting began in December between troops loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy, Riek Machar. Clashes spread quickly beyond the capital, often pitting Kiir’s Dinka people against Machar’s Nuer.
The United Nations said rebels slaughtered hundreds of civilians when they seized the South Sudan oil hub of Bentiu earlier this month, hunting down men, women and children who had sought refuge in a hospital, a mosque and a Catholic church. The rebels dismissed the accusations. …
South Africa Today – Africa News