Kenya Says It’s Gradually Pulling Peacekeepers From South Sudan

  • Decision to withdraw troops from neighbor is final, army says
  • Move comes after Kenyan commander of UN force was fired

Kenya’s army said its more than 1,000 troops with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan are gradually coming home, as the government carries out a recent pledge to withdraw from its strife-torn neighbor.

“It is intermittent, they will all come home,” Kenya Defence Forces spokesman Paul Njuguna said by phone from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. “Some will come today, some in the coming days depending on logistics. The decision to pull out is final, as the president has said.”

Kenyan troops began arriving back on Wednesday. Njuguna said he was unable to comment on whether another country will replace their contribution. The UN mission in South Sudan had about 12,100 troops, according to the global body’s website.

President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered Kenyan troops from South Sudan after the UN last week fired the Kenyan commander of its peacekeeping force. The general’s removal came in the wake of a UN probe that found peacekeepers didn’t respond effectively when violence flared in South Sudan’s capital in July. Kenyan authorities, in turn, said Kenyans were being scapegoated and accused the mission of “systematic failures.”

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