South Sudan calls UN genocide talk ‘fabricated lie’

Nairobi, Dec 16 (IANS) South Sudan has termed the claims that the country was approaching genocide, a lie and a concoction of the UN, to legitimise its presence in the war-torn nation.

President Salva Kiir’s spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told Xinhua news agency on Friday that tribal skirmishes that have taken place in the past three years in the country had not deteriorated to the level of ethnic cleansing as alleged by UN human rights officials.

UN human rights officials warned recently that South Sudan was fast approaching a genocide situation reminiscent of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

“Whatever skirmishes happen among tribes in South Sudan are just like elsewhere in Africa but it has not reached the level of genocide,” said Ateny.

South Sudan fell into civil war in December 2013. There have been killings targeting both Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups to whom the two rivals in the war — President Kiir and sacked first Vice-President Riek Machar — belong, respectively.

A peace deal signed last August under UN pressure led to short-lived reconciliation between the rival leaders, but failed to hold as fresh fighting erupted in July.