President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented over the violence in South Sudan, describing the ongoing crisis in the country “as extremely disturbing”.
About 100 Nigerians are currently trapped in the country as a result of fighting which broke out between government and opposition forces during preparations for South Sudan’s fifth independence celebration.
Speaking in Abuja while receiving Donald Kaberuka, an envoy of the AU on peace fund, on Monday, Buhari said supporting peace operations under the auspices of the AU, in several countries affected by conflict remains a foreign policy priority for his administration.
He assured the AU envoy that despite competing priorities on security and the economic downturn in the country, Nigeria will also play a central role in seeking the EU and the UN to strengthen their support for crisis-prone African countries.
The president appealed for peace and calm in the world’s newest country.
“What is happening in South Sudan is extremely disturbing and it is a very dicey situation,” he said.
“The AU leadership has a crucial role in stabilising the country and other African countries on the brink.
“What we can do urgently to stabilise South-Sudan is very important as African leaders meet in Kigali, Rwanda this month and later in September at the UN.”
On his part, Kaberuka said funding the AU-led peace support operations, which had remained a challenge for member-countries was further compounded early this year when the EU cut down its allocation to the AU Mission in Somalia by 20 per cent.
He said the AU summit in Kigali is expected to agree on a road map of alternative financing for AU-led peace support operations, including a proposal for African nations to fund 25 per cent of the Fund’s budget while UN contributes the balance.