Kenyan president order military to evacuate citizens trapped in South Sudan

Kenyan president order military to evacuate citizens trapped in South Sudan
# 22 December 2013 02:17 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday authorized the East African country's military to enter South Sudan and rescue citizens trapped in the towns engulfed by clashes, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

A statement sent to the media by presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu revealed that 1,600 Kenyans are trapped in South Sudan being hit by unrest since last week.

"Despite the relative calm in Juba, a number of other South Sudan towns have come under fire, and as a result, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), has now ordered the KDF to commence immediate evacuation of the one thousand six hundred (1,600) Kenyans stranded in South Sudan," read the statement.

There is an estimated 25,000 Kenyans in South Sudan, mostly in the capital Juba, where they run businesses or provide professional services.

"The Kenyans are mainly in the town of Bor in Jonglei State. There are also Kenyans in the towns of Rumbek, Ayod and Panyabol who will be airlifted to safety," said the presidential spokesman.

Since the failed coup on Sunday, large swathes of South Sudan have been engulfed in turmoil.

Foreigners have fled the country this week despite assurance from President Salva Kiir that normalcy has returned.

Dozens of buses ferrying citizens from East African countries have already crossed into Uganda.

Besides dispatching the military to rescue trapped citizens, President Kenyatta revealed that his government will mobilize regional and international support to end political impasse in South Sudan.

Kenyan Foreign Secretary Amina Mohamed early this week joined her counterparts from regional countries to mediate in South Sudan.

"As a neighbor with knowledge of the South Sudan and who has worked closely with the government there, the Kenyan government has sent additional mediators to help with dialogue. They include General (Rtd) Elijah Sumbeiywo as well as Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat, Rev. Julius Kobia, Hon Dalmas Otieno, Amb Elijah Matibo and Hon Mark Too," Kenyatta said.

The president ordered the military in the morning to airlift emergency assistance including food, water and medicine into South Sudan.