Machar rebukes Kenya for spokesman’s deportation, calls for release

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Exiled South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar has condemned the deportation of his press secretary, James Gatdet, terming it a violation of the Geneva convention.

Machar accused Deputy President William Ruto and Attorney General Githu Muigai of ignoring his appeal not to deport Gatdet for fears of his life.

He said in a press statement on Friday that he called the two seeking their help in stopping the deportation.

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“I pleaded with them and they assured me that Gatdet would not be deported only for me to learn later that my appeal had been ignored,” he said.

Machar noted the Kenyan government was a guarantor to the peace agreement he signed in August 2015 with President Salva Kiir.

He said he did not expect it to put the life of an innocent person in danger. President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday said Kenya will no longer be part of the South Sudan peace process.

“The SPLM-IO therefore condemns this act in the strongest terms possible,” he said.

Machar claimed Gatdet was arrested at his residence on November 2 by Kenyan security forces who arrived in three vehicles in response to an order by the government.

He said the press secretary was arrested upon arrival at Juba International Airport and was said to be in the custody of National Security Service.

“I appeal to the international community, particularly the UN and UNHRC, to exert more efforts to ensure Gatdet is immediately released and reunited with his family,” he said.

Machar further appealed for the protection of all Kenyan workers in areas of their control, saying they were innocent.

He said his team will continue engaging with Kenyan government.

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