Rebels assure Kenyans in South Sudan of their safety

Monday November 07 2016

Sacked South Sudan first vice-president Dr Riek Machar. PHOTO | FILE

South Sudan rebels have assured Kenyans of safety in areas under their control despite earlier threats following the deportation of their spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak last week.

In an interview with The East African, Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) representative in Kenya, LaM Jok, dismissed fears that Kenyans in rebel controlled areas are being targeted after some of them had their passports confiscated in Jongeli.

“When Dr Riek Machar heard about this incident, he immediately called all the commanders and ordered that Kenyans should not be targeted. We are currently in talks with the Kenyan government regarding the deportation and we have given assurance of the safety of Kenyans working in our territories,” Said Mr Jok.

Kenyans in rebel-held areas had been warned to stay indoors or limit their movements as Dr Machar’s movement try to plead with Nairobi to ensure that Juba does not harm Mr Dak.

Since the deportation of Mr Dak to Juba on November 3, members of SPLM-IO living in Kenya have been living in fear that the Kenya government is planning more deportations.

Mr Dak was deported after a Facebook posting where he applauded a decision by United Nations chief firing a Kenyan general commanding the UN peacekeeping forces in South Sudan, Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki.


Kenya has since protested to the UN over the sacking maintaining that the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has its own structural shortcoming that should not be blamed on an individual.

Having all along remained neutral since the civil war broke out in December 2013, Kenya has suddenly thrown her weight behind President Salva Kiir with strong indications that the country will no longer allow SPLM-IO cadres to operate freely in the country.

Positive role

On Sunday, Kenyan police stormed a South Sudan wedding in Nairobi’s eastern estate of Kasarani and arrested 24 youth for having gathered without permit.

“We are in Kenya with the permission of the Kenyan authorities and our safety in in the hands of the government. We have made it clear to the Kenyan authorities that we mean no harm to the country and its citizens in the areas we control,” said Mr Jok.

Elsewhere, The South Sudan Peoples Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in opposition says it has released all Kenyan nationals detained as retaliation after Nairobi handed over their spokesperson James Gatdet Dak to the Juba government.

“Following the order of our commander in chief and leader Dr Riek Machar, we have released all Kenyan nations in our territory. They are now free to move within our territory or even go to another country,” Mr Goanar Gordon Yien, the secretary in office of the Chairman and Commander in chief of SPLM/A in opposition, told the Africa Review in Ethiopia.

Mr Yien said sources had informed them that Mr Dak was still alive and urged the international community to put pressure on Juba government for his release.

“I hope what the Kenyan government has done to our spokesperson will not happen to another person again. We value the positive role the Kenyan government has been playing to end the conflict in South Sudan and hope that it continues to do so,” he said in a phone interview.

-Additional reporting by Andualem Sisay in Addis Ababa.