Kenyan troops have begun vacating South Sudan following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s declaration that the East African country would no longer take part in the peacekeeping mission in the troubled nation.
The Kenyan army on Wednesday began withdrawing its 1,000-strong force that was part of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
The first batch of soldiers is due in the capital, Nairobi, later today.
Kenya’s decision to withdraw from the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan comes following UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s sacking of a Kenyan commander that was prompted by a report that UN troops in July failed to respond to the outbreak of violence in Juba.
President Kenyatta said the UN acted in an undignified manner when it replaced the commander Lt-Gen Johnson Ondieki who was heading the mission in South Sudan.
“Our soldiers have served in many countries and with distinction,” Kenyatta told African diplomats in Nairobi on Nov. 4 and cited how Kenyan soldiers performed in Namibia, East Timor, Yugoslavia and many other missions.
The President said the UN was using the Kenyan officer as a fall guy for the structural and systematic shortcomings of the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.