UN will report in August on South Sudan hotel attack


United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon appointed a former Dutch major general on Tuesday to lead a month long inquiry into the response by peacekeepers to some attacks on civilians, including at a hotel, during violence in South Sudan’s capital last month.

Patrick Cammaert “will review reports of incidents of attacks on civilians and cases of sexual violence that occurred within or in the vicinity of the UN House Protection of Civilians sites in Juba,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The inquiry will determine whether the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan responded appropriately to those incidents and an attack on Juba’s Hotel Terrain during several days of fighting between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing former Vice President Riek Machar last month.

Dujarric said last week in a statement that Ban was “alarmed” by the initial findings of a UN fact-finding mission into the attack on the hotel on July 11 by uniformed men who killed a journalist and raped several civilians.

The findings of Cammaert’s inquiry will be made public, Dujarric said.

Hundreds of people were killed, and the United Nations said government soldiers and security forces executed civilians and gang-raped women and girls during and after last month’s fighting. South Sudan rejected the accusations.

The UN Security Council earlier this month authorised deployment of a 4,000-strong protection force to ensure peace in Juba as part of the UN mission and threatened an arms embargo if the government did not co-operate.

UN peacekeepers have been in the oil-producing country since it gained independence from Sudan in 2011. South Sudan descended into civil war after Kiir dismissed Machar as his deputy in 2013. They signed a peace deal in August 2015, but implementation was slow and sporadic fighting continued.

Machar has since fled South Sudan and is receiving medical treatment in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

Former Dutch Major General Cammaert most recently led a UN Board of Inquiry into deadly violence in a UN compound in South Sudan’s Malakal in February. The inquiry found confusion over command and control and rules of engagement marred a response by peacekeepers.