The first set of Kenyans evacuated from Sudan has arrived in the country as the conflict involving rival military factions deepens.
The group of 39 students studying at the International University of Africa in Khartoum arrived in Kenya on Monday night.
The students were received in Nairobi by Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale and senior officials from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), State Department for Diaspora Affairs and the Ministry of Interior.
Duale said the students were rescued at the Paloich Airport, South Sudan by the Kenya Air Force after a long and tiresome trek, amidst the deafening sounds of guns and bazookas.
The CS applauded the students for their courage and urged other Kenyans stuck in Sudan to reach out to foreign affairs officials for repatriation back home.
"I applauded the youngsters for their courage and resilience in braving the ongoing bloodbath and, further encouraged Kenyans stranded in Sudan and their families back home to continue registering with the State Department for Diaspora Affairs, for logistical purposes," Duale tweeted.
"Our position as a country committed to regional peace and stability is similar to that of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as pronounced by H.E President."
At least 100 Kenyan students have so far been rescued from war-torn Khartoum in Sudan and made a safe passage to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
This comes at a time when over 400 people have been killed and 3,550 injured in Sudan’s conflict involving rival military factions.
According to Kenya's Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Dr Korir Sing’oei, the plan is to get Kenyans to Port Sudan from where they will be airlifted to Jeddah and then to Nairobi.
“From our embassies in Juba and Addis Ababa, we have teams working and to support and facilitate their safe passage,” Sing’oei said.
Sing'oei said that Kenya is mooting efforts to mediate the warring sides in Sudan since it is a neutral party.
“Nairobi is known as the capital for peacebuilding. Regionally and globally, we mediated the South Sudan conflict, we mediated the Somalia conflict. We are in a very, very good place to mediate the current conflict because Kenya is not in any way involved in the dispute. It is a neutral party,” he added.
Countries such as the United States, France and Britain, mobilized evacuation efforts for their citizens and diplomatic staff.
The United States and France both relied on Special Operations troops, and Britain said 1,200 of its military personnel were involved in evacuating its diplomatic staff and their families.