, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 16 – A section of South Sudan students in Kenya are asking for the Kenyan Government’s protection claiming they have received threats from their home government.
Ayuel Malek, the leader of South Sudan Students Association in Kenya (SSSAK), says he started receiving threats after an aborted meeting on May 12.
The meeting was set to be between the students, the South Sudanese Embassy in Kenya and South Sudan Opposition leaders and aimed at grooming the students on leadership skills as well as discussing the unending political unrest in their country.
Malek said that since that day, he has been receiving life threatening calls and he was been accused of mobilizing his fellow students against the top leadership in South Sudan.
“We have been receiving threatening calls from people claiming to be from the Office of the President but when we ask to meet them they decline. Some of us have even been forced to vacate our residential homes and even end up missing classes because of the magnitude of the threats,” he said.
He defended the association’s decision to invite Opposition leaders to the meeting and insisted that their mission was to work towards fostering peace in their nation and mentorship of the students on leadership skills.
Malek added that the students were still willing to play the non-partisan role of uniting their country’s top leadership and noted that the recent peace deal in Kenya between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga provided a good example that realization of peace was still viable in South Sudan.
“We could not clearly understand why the embassy couldn’t honor the meeting. It was clear though that the meeting was cancelled because we invited Opposition leaders despite the fact that we had previously invited South Sudan Deputy President James Wani Igga who declined our invitation.”
“Our association is independent and the student community has no political motive. We are inclusive of everyone both government supporters and the Opposition. Therefore, we want to state that we will still continue with our meetings as planned but going forward we shall seek legal advice in a bid to ensure we act within the laws,” the students leader said.
SSSAK enjoys a membership of over 3,000 South Sudanese students studying in Kenya who are mainly drawn from colleges and universities countrywide.