Kenyan pilots held captive in South Sudan arrive in Nairobi

Tuesday February 20 2018

Captain Pius Frank Njoroge (second right) and co-pilot Kennedy Shamalla (third right) when they arrived in Nairobi on February 20, 2018. PHOTO | KENNEDY KIMANTHI | NMG


Two Kenyan pilots detained by rebels in South Sudan after their plane crashed are back home.

Captain Pius Frank Njoroge and his co-pilot Kennedy Shamalla who have been under the custody of Sudan People's Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) for over a month were received Tuesday afternoon at Wilson Airport in Nairobi by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and their families.

They were immediately taken to a Nairobi hospital for treatment.

Captain Njoroge appeared frail when he landed and was helped by Kenya Red Cross officials to walk.

CS Juma said her ministry and the company the pilots worked for secured their release.

"Kenya deplores the unfriendly and inhumane response of the SPLM-IO to what was an unfortunate accident," the minister said.


She condemned the capture and detention of the pilots and asked Kenyans travelling to war-torn countries to be cautious.

The two were released Monday after the government and the rebels agreed on the amount of money to be paid as compensation for loss of life and property when the Cessna Caravan crashed in Akobo, in the Greater Upper Nile region of South Sudan, on January 7.

The owner of the aircraft, Captain Godwin Wachira who was also at the airport, said the rebels were paid Ksh 11 million ($107,743) by UAP insurance company.