, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – Kenyans living in Juba, the capital city of Southern Sudan are now living in fear as heavy military fighting continues but optimistic that things will be back to normal.
Speaking to Capital FM News, a number of Kenyans said they had been forced to stay indoors since Sunday following a dusk-to-dawn curfew by South Sudan’s president Salvar Kiir.
Rose Nganga, who has been in Juba for the last three years and a staff at the UN, says since the fighting started, the biggest challenge has been access to basic amenities like food and water as many businesses and offices remain closed.
She said most civilians including Kenyans who were in various estates have not been able to seek refuge at the UN offices and other places due to limited movement.
“I live at an estate Juba town and nothing is happening. They are just telling us to stay in the house, because bullets don’t have eyes and can land on anything or anyone,” she said, “I hear of war, but I didn’t know this is how things are. I never knew this is how fighting looks like.”
Rosemary Kariuki, another Kenyan working in the city says she was planning to travel back to Kenya on Sunday with her daughter but was forced to cancel the journey after the airports closed.
“Even at night we are sleeping on the floor because of fear. We wanted to go to the UN place but we are so scared. I have never seen such a thing,” Kariuki said.
They say the fighting had stopped for the better part of Monday but they later heard heavy gunfire exchange at around midday on Tuesday in various military bases.
So far the fighting is claimed to have led to 66 deaths as troops loyal to the president fought off an alleged coup by his arch-rival, former vice president Riek Machar who was sacked in July.
“I am a Kenyan and I visit Juba often for business reasons. It is so scaring especially in the night when you hear noises of the gunfire,” Bonny Wakahiu said, “We are too much indoors. Food is the biggest challenge. You people there (Kenya) ‘should’ supply us with chapati.”
“Most Kenyans here have no idea what is a coup and some thought they would run away through Uganda border, which is not possible. But all those in the house are safe. We hear that the fighting was in Bill farm barracks and Jebel. I can’t even tell you whether there is business going on out there or not because I have been in the house all through,” a businessman, Ben Kibui told Capital news.