Kenyan Officials Ignored my appeal not to Deport Spokesman James Gatdet, He’s in Danger—Machar


South Sudanese embattled opposition leader Riek Machar accused Kenya of putting the life of one of his spokesperson James Gatdet Dak in danger by deporting him to Juba.

Machar in a press statement acknowledged that press secretary has been arrested by the Southern Sudan Government after Kenya deported him after he was arrested in Nairobi two days ago.

He said that as a guarantor to the South Sudan Peace Agreement signed in 2015, Kenya ought to have protected Dak because deporting him to Juba had put him in grave danger. Kenya, he said had breached the Geneva Convention on Refugees.

“I made calls to  Kenyan government officials requesting that Dak should not be deported. I spoke to Deputy President William Ruto. I also spoke to Attorney General (Githu Muigai).

“I alerted them that Dak was an urban refugee under protection of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees but my pleas were ignored,” said Machar.

Fell out

The former South Sudan Vice President, who is also the commander in-chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army fell out with President Salva Kiir, sparking a deadly civil war last year.

He now wants Dak protected and returned to Nairobi to reunite with his family.

In an ominous warning implying his forces could retaliate against Kenya, Dr Machar appealed to the international community and his commanders to protect Kenyan workers in his area of control. “Make sure that you protect all Kenyan workers in our areas of control. They are innocent. They have no role in what their government did,” he said.

According to Machar, Dak, was arrested from his residence in Kileleshwa on Wednesday by Kenyan security officials who went there in three vehicles.

He was deported hours later.

Dak was subsequently arrested on arrival in Juba, sparking anger in Dr Machar’s Sudanese People Liberation Movement.

But when reached for comment on whether Machar tried to contact Deputy President Ruto, his spokesman, David Mugonyi referred the media  to the Ministry of Interior.

“Any issues touching on immigration is within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government,” said Mugonyi.

State House Spokesman, Manoah Esipisu also declined to comment on the matter, saying, “Immigration or Foreign Affairs please.”

The stand-off with Machar over the deportation of his top aide, comes barely 24 hours after Kenya announced it was withdrawing its 1,200 peace keeping troops from Southern Sudan after Ban Ki-moon, the UN boss, sacked Kenya’s Lt General Ondieki.

President Kiir, Dr Machar and their top aides all own posh homes in Nairobi. Two weeks ago, Members of Parliament threatened to have Dr Machar and his family deported over his alleged war-like activities.

Credit: The Standard