Envoy Kalonzo meets with South Sudan leadership as more Kenyan drivers attacked in Juba

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Special Envoy to South Sudan Kalonzo Musyoka meets with President Salva Kiir in Juba on May 4, 2021/ KALONZO MUSYOKA

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Special Envoy to South Sudan on Tuesday met with South Sudan leadership in Juba.

Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka met with President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Riek Machar and Vice President Rebecca Garang.

“Today I met with President Salva Kiir Mayardit at the Office of the President, Juba. We discussed a visa free regime between Kenya and South Sudan, the construction of the road linking the two countries and the developments of peace. Integration is key to growing future economies,” Kalonzo posted on his social media accounts.

With VPs Machar and Garang, Kalonzo said they discussed various bilateral issues, key among them the Lapsset economic agenda, definition of boundaries and sustainable peace.

ATTACKS ON KENYAN DRIVERS

Kalonzo’s visit comes a day after reports that four Kenyan long-distance cargo truck drivers and two loaders were kidnapped by unknown gunmen at Terekeka town in South Sudan.

According to Uganda’s Daily Monitor, the town is located on the Western bank of the Nile, 53 miles North of the capital Juba.

It is said the kidnappers are demanding 15 million South Sudan pounds (about Sh4.8 million) in exchange for the freedom of the captives.

In April this year, the Kenya Transporters Association warned all foreign truckers planning to drive to South Sudan against using Juba-Nimule/ Yei highway due to the insecurity along the major roads.

The EastAfrican reported that the association’s CEO, Dennis Ombok, said the decision followed reports of the killing of two Kenyans in South Sudan in an ambush along Juba-Nimule highway. Two went missing.

“Following increased incidences of insecurity, murder and violent crimes against foreign drivers, such as the killing and burning of drivers and the setting ablaze of trucks currently being witnessed in South Sudan, we wish to advise transporters not to use the Yei-Juba road as there is no guaranteed security,” a note by Ombok said.

The South Sudan government accused a rebel group known as the National Salvation Front of being behind the killings but NAS denied the claim.

KENYA RAISES CONCERNS

Following the attacks, Kenya, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, raised concerns over attacks on Kenyans.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the attack against Kenyan truck drivers operating on the Juba Namule Road had resulted in several fatalities and multiple injuries.

“The government advises Kenyans in South Sudan and particularly transporters using Yei Juba Road to exercise increased caution and avoid use of this route where possible.”

“ Kenyans in distress across South Sudan are encouraged to urgently seek consular assistance from the Embassy in Juba,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Kenya said it is working closely with South Sudan to ensure Kenyan interests are protected and that perpetrators of attacks against Kenyans are prosecuted.

South Sudan parties sign agreement allowing talks on political issues in Naivasha

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