Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - "Here in Rumbek, the few Kenyans I have met feel unsafe but as they work in these areas, they just entrust their lives to God", says to Fides Father John John Waweru, a Kenyan priest incardinated in Rumbek diocese in South Sudan, reacting to the warning given by the government of Kenya about traveling in South Sudan.
On February 21, Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an advisory, alerting its citizens against traveling to parts of South Sudan that are affected by conflict. In particular, the statement urged all Kenyan nationals living or travelling to South Sudan to avoid areas where armed conflicts and inter-ethnic violence have occurred within the last six months.
The Nairobi government raised the alarm after two Kenyan pilots’ aircraft had developed technical problems on January 7, crash landing in the rebel-controlled area of Akobo, killing a South Sudanese and some heads of cattle, an episode that saw the pilots held by the army affiliated to the opposition (SPLA-IO) for 44 days. The two pilots were released after a compensation of over a hundred thousand dollars had to be paid.
"I shared with some Kenyan mechanics working here the travelling advisory report issued by the government, but they just said they cannot avoid being here despite the challenges, even if the place is unsafe", said Fr. Waweru, who has been working in South Sudan since 2000.
"I know there are many Kenyans here in Rumbek, Western Lakes State and Eastern Lakes, and here in Rumbek, there are perpetual ethnic conflicts but we are working in these areas", says Fr. Waweru, who is a parish priest in a mission some 50km west of Rumbek town.
Pope Francis has dedicated Friday, February 23, 2018 as a day of prayer for peace in South Sudan, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo. (DBO-L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/2/2018)