2 Kenyans killed,six injured in South Sudan fighting

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Two Kenyans have been killed as a result of the fighting in South Sudan, according to the government.

In a statement sent to newsrooms on Saturday from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the government also revealed that there are almost 1,000 Kenyans who have sought refuge in UN camps in the country and warned of a “looming humanitarian crisis”.

“So far, two Kenyans have been killed and another six have suffered from gunshot wounds from stray bullets during the fighting in Juba and Bor,” read the statement in part.

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“The Kenyan Embassy in Juba is working with UN Agencies in South Sudan and the Government of South Sudan to ensure delivery of the essential supplies to those in need especially in Bor, Jonglei state including Kenyans and other nationalities that have been caught up in the ongoing violence.”

The government is also “deeply concerned” over the ongoing fighting in South Sudan, and called for an immediate cessation in hostilities, saying the dispute “should remain exclusively at the political level and should not be allowed to escalate into an ethnic conflict for the sake of the long-term peace and stability of South Sudan and the region”.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohammed left Juba on Saturday following what the statement called “an unprecedented three-day mission by IGAD [the Intergovernmental Authority on Development]’s foreign ministers in response to the security crisis in South Sudan”.

According to the statement, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday morning sent General Lazaro Sumbeiywo to Juba as a Special Envoy to join the efforts in the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday he was sending Donald Booth, his special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, to the region to encourage talks between the warring factions.

UPSURGE IN HOSTILITIES

There was an upsurge in hostilities in the world’s youngest nation on Saturday when a US military aircraft was shot at as it was engaged in evacuation operations in Bor, the rebel-held capital of Jonglei state, according to a diplomatic source and Ugandan military officials, with some US military personnel injured in the incident.

At least 500 people have been killed in Juba alone in six days of fighting, while tens of thousands have been displaced – many of them seeking shelter in UN bases across the country amid warnings that the impoverished nation is on the brink of all-out civil war.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday issued an appeal for an end to hostilities and urged the leaders of Sudan’s warring factions “to resolve their personal differences through dialogue immediately”.-nation.co.ke

Civilians who were evacuated from South Sudan arrive at the Entebbe International Airport in Uganda on their way to Kampala on December 20, 2013. PHOTO | AFP

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