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Kenya issues travel alert on parts of South Sudan

Kinyuru Munuhe @kinyurumunuhe

Kenya yesterday issued a security travel alert to all nationals residing in South Sudan over rising armed conflicts in the troubled country. The travel advisory affects at least nine regions marred with ethnic and rebel attacks for the last six months.

“Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya wishes to advise all Kenyan nationals living or travelling to South Sudan to move away from and avoid travelling to areas where armed conflicts and inter-ethnic violence have occurred within the last six months,” a statement by Foreign Affairs Cabinet secretary Monica Juma read in part.

The red security alert came a day after two Kenyan pilots captain Frank Njoroge and Kennedy Shamalla were released by rebels after almost two months of captivity. Areas declared as dangerous include; Greater Upper Nile region, Bieh, Latjoor, Akobo, Jonglei, Northern Liech states and parts of Maiwut, Eastern Nile and Boma states and Yei River state.

Ambassador Juma urged Kenyans in other parts of the country to exercise extreme caution as they undertake their daily activities. “They should avoid unnecessary travels in these regions because the situation is risky and their security cannot be guaranteed,” she added.

Juma brokered a release deal for the two captains after compensation for the family of a civilian killed when their plane crashed in Akobo, in the Greater Upper Nile region early last month was paid. Oil-rich South Sudan has been riven by civil war since 2013.

The conflict has displaced a third of the population, shut down most of the oil production and wrecked the economy. The ministry directed all Kenyans who are not yet registered with the Embassy in Juba to do so immediately.

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