First Batch Of Kenyan Soldiers Arrive JKIA From South Sudan

The Government of Kenya has begun withdrawing troops from the South Sudan peacekeeping mission as it previously announced.

The first batch of Kenya Defence Forces troops arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Wednesday.

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The batch which was made up by 100 soldiers based in Wahu, Juba, arrived aboard an Ocean Airlines plane at around 1:15pm.

KDF spokesman Lt Col Paul Njuguna said another 100 soldiers are expected to arrive later on in the day.

The Kenya Defence Forces troops returning home are part of the 1,000 strong Kenyan soldiers serving under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The Kenyan Foreign Ministry on the instruction of President Kenyatta opted out of its pledge to the mission following UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision to sack Lt-Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki.

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Withdrawing Troops

Lt-General Ondieki of Kenya was commander of the UN Mission before a damning UN Special Investigative report blamed the commanding officer for the Mission’s shortcomings.

The report stated that the peacekeeping force led by the commanding officer failed to protect civilians during a period of heavy fighting in July.

The civilians were in a hotel in Juba when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former vice-president, Riek Machar clashed.

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Major General Benjamin Biwott was on hand to receive the withdrawing troops at the Nairobi International airport. He said the remaining part of the Kenyan contingent would return home in batches over the next few days depending on the UN’s logistical arrangements.

The General, however, added that Kenyan soldiers which have participated in peacekeeping operations for over four decades would continue in its other missions.