NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 16 – Kenya has started evacuating its nationals from South Sudan due to the fluid security situation in the world’s newest nation.
The first plane carrying 100 Kenyans was scheduled to land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at 2 pm on Saturday, with five more expected later in the afternoon.
Officials said the decision was reached following a series of meetings held at the Office of the President on Friday, with advice from the Foreign Affairs Ministry which has warned Kenyans against travelling to South Sudan.
Sudan and Uganda have been evacuating their nationals since Wednesday when it became apparent that forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his Vice President Riek Machar may resort to more fighting.
So far more than 300 people–mainly soldiers have been killed since hostilities amongst the forces started a week ago.
“Do to the fluid nature of the security situation and the assessed level of risk, the government wishes to advise Kenyans against non-essential travel to South Sudan until further notice,” Juma said in a statement issued late Friday.
She advised Kenyans living in South Sudan to urgently register with the Kenyan Embassy in Juba or contact Ambassador Cleland Leshore on telephone number +21195909900 or Gikonyo Karugu on telephone number +211954914167.
“The government has been, and continues to closely monitor the situation in South Sudan and will provide a regular update accordingly,” she assured.
Commercial flights to Juba resumed on Thursday to assist those ready to come back home.
The security deterioration in South Sudan was a result of sudden conflict between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar last week July 8.
The in the capital, Juba, led to the killing of at least 300 people, mainly soldiers.
It is understood that Kenya was set to start evacuating some of its nationals on Saturday after Uganda and Sudan started moving their people out on Wednesday.