NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 21 – Two Kenyans have been killed and other six others injured during the ongoing fighting in Juba and Bor, South Sudan.
Another 1,000 Kenyans have sought refuge and are currently camping at the United Nations Mission compound in Bor as they wait for help.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed says the Kenyan government is doing whatever it can to ensure that all the stranded Kenyans are evacuated safely.
“The embassy has closely monitored the situation facing the Kenyans in UN camps and has kept in constant communication with them while ensuring that UN Mission does everything in its power to protect and assist them,” Mohamed said while giving an update on the situation of the South Sudan crisis on Saturday.
Since the fighting started, a number of Kenyans have been able to return home, including 22 who landed at the Wilson airport on Saturday evening.
On Wednesday last week, 15 buses ferried Kenyans, Ugandans and a mix of other nationalities from South Sudan via the Ugandan border.
Mohamed said the Kenyan Embassy in South Sudan was issuing emergency travel documents at no fee to Kenyans who have lost their passports and needs to leave the country.
So far close to 2,000 travel documents have been given out since the fighting began on December 15.
Close to 16,000 civilians have taken refuge in UN Mission compounds in Juba and about 18,000 have sought refuge at the UN compound in Bor, Jonglei.
This has brought a looming humanitarian crisis, particularly in Juba and Bor due to lack of supplies such as food and water.
“The closure of the country’s borders in the first three days of fighting in Juba and fear of attacks has slowed down the importation food items and other supplies into the country and disrupted networks further worsening the food security situation in the country,” she lamented.
However on Saturday morning, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to intervene and start the immediate evacuation of 1,600 Kenyans stranded in the crisis.
He also directed the delivery of food, water and medicines to assist tackle the emergency caused by the fighting.
In efforts to bring complete peace, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Foreign Ministers, including Amb Mohamed, met in Juba in response to the security crisis in Africa’s youngest nation.
“The dispute should remain exclusively at the political level and should not be allowed to escalate into an ethnic conflict for the sake of the long-term peace and stability of South Sudan and the region,” she said.
So far over 500 people have lost their lives in the inter-ethnic fighting which started after a failed attempted coup led by former Vice President Riek Machar.