4 Kenyans dead as South Sudan evacuation ends

Sudanese citizens board a plane back to Khartoum after it brought food aid, medicine, and clothes to South Sudan's capital Juba on December 31, 2013/AFP

Sudanese citizens board a plane back to Khartoum after it brought food aid, medicine, and clothes to South Sudan’s capital Juba on December 31, 2013/AFP

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 2 – The government says that four Kenyans have been killed so far in South Sudan following a coup attempt on December 16, 2013.

The Foreign Affairs and International Trade Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho says three of them who are Muslims have already been buried and only one body will be brought back to the country for interment.

“We have lost four Kenyans three of whom are Muslims and have been buried already and there is one in Bor which is a hot spot at the moment but as soon as we get clearance we will make sure that that body is brought back home for burial,” Kibicho assured.

He urged Kenyans in the Diaspora to take responsibility of their own lives pointing out that some of the Kenyans who died went outside camps to look for merchandise to sell to those in the camps.

Kibicho says evacuation operations will be completed on Friday with two Kenya Defence Forces flights evacuating 84 Kenyans willing to return home.

“We have two Kenya Defence Force (KDF) flights tomorrow to airlift the 84 Kenyans who have remained. Thereafter we will close shop. So far about 3,000 Kenyans have been evacuated,” he said.

He said a further 7,000 Kenyans still remain in South Sudan, with many unwilling to leave their businesses and a majority in areas with no immediate security threats.

He also says that Kenya Airways has resumed commercial flights and all buses on the Juba-Kampala-Nairobi route are also back in business.

“The Kenyan Embassy in Juba will continue to closely monitor the situation with an eye for ensuring that any small pockets of Kenyans still seeking to leave for safety are assisted,” he said.

He says the security situation in Juba is calm though tension is still high in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity States as negotiations are expected to begin to end the conflict.

The negotiations will be spearheaded by IGAD special envoys that include General Lazarus Sumbeiywo and Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin.

“The Kenyan government has also added its resources and four experienced experts to help in ensuring that they are a success,” he said.

The violence has killed over a 1,000 civilians and displaced at least 200,000 blocking normal trade and causing shortages of food and medicine to areas with conflict.