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Kenya orders evacuation of 7,000 nationals in S. Sudan

24 January 2014, 08:14

Nairobi - Cabinet on Thursday ordered the evacuation of 7,000 nationals from restive South Sudan despite the signing of a deal on the cessation of hostilities between the South Sudanese government and rebels in Ethiopia.

A statement issued after a cabinet meeting which was chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, also approved the provision of humanitarian support for Kenyans and South Sudanese who are fleeing their country to Kakuma refugee camp in northwest Kenya.

"Cabinet was briefed on the prevailing situation in South Sudan and noted the humanitarian crisis in the country. Cabinet appreciated that to-date over 600 million shillings (7 million U.S. dollars) has been spent on humanitarian assistance, airlifting of over 10,000 Kenyans and also support refugees fleeing to Kakuma," the statement said.

The statement comes as both government and rebels' representatives signed a cease-fire agreement on Thursday in Addis Ababa after more than five weeks of fighting in the world's newest nation.

Fighting between troops loyal to the president, Salva Kiir, and those backing the vice-president he sacked in July, Riek Machar, erupted in mid-December 2013.

The residents, including government officials, say some of the violence is ethnically motivated, with supporters of Kiir, a member of the Dinka tribe, and supporters of Machar, from the Nuer tribe, targeting each other.

The talks are being spearheaded by the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The two warring parties had early this month agreed in principle to a cease-fire but refrained from committing to a timeline.

There were an estimated 25,000 Kenyans in South Sudan before the eruption of violence in Africa's newest state on December 15, 2013.

During the meeting, the Cabinet directed the Attorney General to prepare legal position with regard to huge losses incurred by Kenyans following the conflict in South Sudan.

- Xinhua


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