NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 10 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his First Vice President Riek Machar to move heavy weaponry and huge contingents of soldiers out of civilian spaces in the capital Juba.
At a press briefing on Sunday, State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said President Kenyatta had reached out to his counterpart to a call for a cessation of the hostilities that began at the Presidential palace on Friday when Kiir and Machar’s guards began exchanging fire.
“It is with profound regret that we have observed the renewed fighting unravel in South Sudan,” Esipisu said.
He said Kenya and the region in general was eager to see the recent wave of violence quickly subside.
“We in the region stand ready to support law enforcement activities in the capital.”
And to that end President Kenyatta, Esipisu said, was impressing upon the leaders the imperativeness of staying true to the unity government it formed in April.
“The President urges President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Dr Riek Machar and Vice President James Wani Igga to play the leadership roles the people of South Sudan expect them to play during this critical time,” Esipisu said.
The peace deal in South Sudan could be said to be close to President Kenyatta’s heart given the active role he’s so far played in the effort to end civil strife in the nation that marked a bloody fifth independence day on Saturday.
Over 150 people, Machar’s camp has reported, were killed in Friday’s violence alone; a violence that erupted again on Sunday.
Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe on Saturday said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was yet to receive any report of Kenyans casualties following the recent wave of violence and was working to ensure none are.