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Ethiopia ready to send more peacekeepers to S.Sudan

The conflict in South Sudan threatening the lives of children who've already witnessed unspeakable violence. Photo via @UNICEF
The conflict in South Sudan threatening the lives of children who’ve already witnessed unspeakable violence. Photo via @UNICEF

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | AFP

Ethiopia said Friday it was ready to send more soldiers to strengthen the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

“We’re more than willing to take on our part of responsibility in restoring calm in South Sudan,” said government spokesman Getachew Reda.

“We hope and expect the South Sudanese to bury the hatchet,” he said, but added, “If push comes to shove, we’ll have to carry the burden through strengthening the troop numbers.”

The troops could be deployed as part of an “intervention brigade” with a more aggressive mandate mooted by regional bloc IGAD.

Ethiopia is already the largest contributor of troops to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), providing 8,300 out of 13,500 uniformed personnel, including police.

Days of intense fighting in the South Sudanese capital Juba from Friday to Monday between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his rival, Vice President Riek Machar, left hundreds dead, tens of thousands forced from their homes and an already shaky peace agreement in danger of collapsing altogether.

“The leaders of South Sudan have failed miserably when it comes to keeping their promises to their people,” said Reda.

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