NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – There is confusion over the fate of the five Kenyans who have been detained in South Sudan for the last 75 days, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their families giving conflicting information.
The families claim that they were informed by ministry officials on Thursday that their kin were no longer suspects but State witnesses.
But foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho told Capital FM News that if that were the case, the #SouthSudanFive would no longer be in detention.
He maintained the ministry could not “arm twist” the South Sudanese government into releasing the five, as their families had been demanding as it is a sovereign State.
The families therefore, again, renewed their plea for President Uhuru Kenyatta to get involved and secure the safe return of their loved ones.
“He has managed to secure the release of South Sudan political prisoners. What about five of the 40 million he has sworn to protect?” a family member who wished to remain anonymous posed to Capital FM News.
In this regard, the families said, they were advised by ministry officials to seek audience with Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.
The families have in the past accused the ministry of failing to take the situation in which their kin find themselves in Juba, seriously.
“We’re tired of dealing with junior officers who later deny any knowledge of the situation,” Nicholas Nyakeri, brother to one of the detainees, told Capital FM News at the time.
The five were arrested on suspicion of alleged involvement in an attempt to defraud the South Sudanese government of Sh1.5 billion.
According to the South Sudan Tribune, their employer – a member of the presidential guard at the time – forged the presidential seal in an attempt to withdraw the funds from the treasury.
Their families have expectedly come to the defence of the five saying they did little more than sell electronic merchandise.
In the event there is evidence tying the five to the crime, they argue, they shouldn’t continue to be detained without trial.