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Kenyans Held in South Sudan Cry for Help

Seven construction workers living in confinement in a rebel-held region of Southern Sudan have appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to help them return home.

The seven were yesterday still being held at a remote location outside Juba, seven days after The Standard broke the story about their predicament.

The seven, who were working in the country's Upper Nile State, are being held by a local supplier following a fallout with a Kenyan contractor.

The supplier, Charles Kegode, is demanding Sh3 million before they are released.

Moses Ochieng, Samuel Kariuki, Richard Wanyonyi, Nicholas Ochieng, Michael Omondi, Samson Marindi and Martin Omondi are now questioning the Government's commitment to save them.

They said Kenya's embassy in Juba only contacted them once since making the pledge to help them return home.

Ambassador Cleland Leshore reportedly told them the Government would not pay the amount demanded but "was pursuing the contractor".

"He called on Friday and told us that they were yet to get our employer, Kegode,  but were working 'procedural' to help us get back home," said Moses Ochieng.

Ochieng and his colleagues asked The Standard to appeal to the President to intervene.

Mr Kegode, who is the contractor, is alleged to have deserted the workers in South Sudan after pocketing Sh19 million from the projects they were working on in Ariang, Upper Nile State.

Mr Moses Ochieng, who was Kegode's site manager of the projects, said the implementing organisation, Cordaid Foundation, had paid Emmanuel Yusuf, the supplier, Sh1 million but he was demanding full payment before releasing the seven.

The Government granted him legal injunction barring the Kenyans from leaving.


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