, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 22 – “They were shooting at people randomly. They were on a mission to kill. They didn’t seem to care at all,” this is how 14-year old Brenda Mwanga recalls her narrow escape from death in war torn Southern Sudan. “Those soldiers are very bad people.”
Brenda found herself trapped in the middle of the crisis during a trip, two weeks ago, to visit her mother who works at the Kenyan Embassy in Juba.
But her quest for the joy of experiencing a new adventure in a foreign country was cut short after war broke out between two factions of soldiers, some loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar who attempted a coup on President Salva Kiir’s government.
“I went there just after completing my standard 8 examination. I had not even stayed for long,” Mwanga who was among the 22 Kenyans evacuated from the South Sudan on Saturday said.
She recalls, vividly, nasty scenes of soldiers shooting indiscriminately at people in the fighting that is threatening to plunge the world’s newest nation into civil war.
“I saw them (soldiers) kill two men outside our gate,” she said, too terrified but joyous to be back at home.
She said she is grateful to security officers who provided them a safe passage to the airport where they boarded the military plane.
For Mwanga, she would never want to return to South Sudan after what she saw; “Given a second chance I would never want to go there again. It is just too dangerous. It was so hard. There was a curfew so we had to stay in the house throughout.”
Jeff Wambua, a businessman in Southern Sudan, who was among those rescued and brought back home, said the fighting caught them by surprise.
He said like many other Kenyans and even Sudanese people, they thought South Sudan was finally on its feet enjoying the fruits of peace.
“All the other time it has been peaceful. We have not been having any problems at all. If there was any problem it was usually about some confrontations with policemen, Juba has been ok,” he recalled.
Wambua hopes that efforts will be made to stop the war which he described as ‘nasty’.
Kenya Defence Forces Spokesman Cyrus Oguna said another plane was dispatched to South Sudan on Sunday to rescue more Kenyans, and distribute relief food.
“We are going to deliver another 4.7 tones of relief. The High Commissioner in Southern Sudan will oversee its distribution since she knows the affected areas. We will not discriminate because we cannot give relief just to Kenyans,” he said.
On Saturday Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said two Kenyans had been killed and six others injured during the ongoing fighting in Juba and Bor, in the Jonglei state.
Another 1,000 Kenyans have sought refuge at the United Nations Mission compound in Bor.