Bangladesh troops replace Kenyans pulled from S. Sudan

Sunday December 04 2016

The Kenya Defence Force soldiers pulled out of the South Sudan peacekeeping mission arrive at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on November 9, 2016. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A troop battalion from Bangladesh is replacing Kenyan peacekeepers who were being withdrawn from South Sudan, the United Nations officials confirmed.

The deployment of 850 Bangladeshi soldiers comes in response to a UN request that followed President Uhuru Kenyatta's decision last month to end Kenya's participation in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

President Kenyatta acted after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sacked the Kenyan general in command of the UNMISS peacekeeping force.

A special UN investigative team blamed Lt Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki for the failure of a UNMISS unit in Juba to respond to pleas for help from a nearby civilian compound under attack by South Sudan government soldiers in July.

The attack

Kenya UN Ambassador Macharia Kamau rejected the investigators' finding, noting that Lt Gen Ondieki had been on the job for only three weeks at the time of the attack.


The Kenyan envoy told reporters that the ouster of the UNMISS commander was “shameful, unfair and an exercise in scapegoating”.

A total of 1,165 Kenyan troops had been posted to UNMISS, according to the UN Peacekeeping Department.

Calls for help

They were among the 12,111 soldiers from several countries assigned to the UN force.

Bangladesh was supplying UNMISS with 513 soldiers prior to the infusion of the new battalion.

The UN mission is being further augmented by 350 Japanese soldiers who began arriving in South Sudan last month.

Their primary role is to help build infrastructure in the war-ravaged country, but the Japanese troops will also guard UN bases and respond to calls for help from other UN personnel in South Sudan.