November 3, 2016 (JUBA) - The Kenyan government in collaboration with South Sudanese authorities has deported the spokesperson of armed opposition leader, Riek Machar to the capital Juba, in a new shift in relations between the two countries.
- James Gatdet Dak, Riek Machar’s spokesperson ’Reuters photo)
Relatives told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that James Gatdet Dak,l was picked on Wednesday afternoon in what a appears to have been a coordinated operation organised by the special service of Kenya and South Sudan and taken to the airport where he was allowed to speak to some of his family members and relatives.
The motive behind Dak’s kidnapping remains unclear and speculative.
Some people attribute the cause to the statement in which he welcomed the sacking of the force commander of United Nations mission in South Sudan who hails from Kenya.
Others, some of whom are high ranking members of the government, however, blamed the South Sudanese government for allegedly engineering Dak’s deportation.
“This is a coordinated operation. The office of the president and the first vice president paid the money to the Kenyan government to execute this operation. They wanted James Gadet to be deported to South Sudan so that Riek Machar is denied an opportunity to speak to the outside world through his spokesman. This is the strategy employed by Taban Deng Gai. Now James Gadet is here. They brought this afternoon. I saw at him at the blue house”, a highly placed source told Sudan Tribune.
A relative separately said “it appears my brother has been brought to Juba”.
No official statements from either the government of Kenya or South Sudan was made. Officials at the ministry of foreign affairs and office of the president declined comment.
SPLM-IO OFFICIALS SPEAK OUT
SPLM-IO opposition officials in Addis Ababa today told Sudan Tribune that Gatdet was flown to the capital Juba Thursday afternoon.
Since yesterday Gatdet was held at Jomo Kenyatta Airport waiting deportation to Juba
The deportation comes hours after SPLM-IO leader, Riek Machar on earlier on the day establishes contacts with authorities in Kenya to set free his spokes person who was arrested on Wednesday.
Earlier today an official in the office of the opposition chairman told Sudan Tribune that Machar, who is currently in South Africa for medical treatment, has started negotiations with Kenyan authorities for his spokesperson’s release.
Dak was reportedly picked from his residence in Nairobi by uniformed and non-uniformed wearing officers claiming to be Kenyan authorities.
Earlier Machar had also contacted UNHCR officials as Nairobi prepared to deport Dak, who also is a United States citizen.
According to opposition officials Asman Kamama, a Kenyan MP believes that Juba government has paid $ 1 million for the arrest and deportation of the opposition spokesperson.
The payment is also to track down other opposition members residing in Kenya.
An investigation has revealed that UNMISS has failed to protect civilians and foreign aid workers in South Sudan’s Juba and Malakal cities.
UN has admitted the failure saying the malfunction of the mission was mostly due to poor command.
UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon has called for the replacement of UNMISS force Commander Lt. Gen. Johnson Mogoa Kimani who himself is a Kenyan citizen.
The decision was welcomed by Dak on behalf on the SPLM-IO on his Facebook page.
It is believed that Dak’s post angered some politicians in Kenyatta’s government.
Opposition officials say Dak could be killed, prosecuted or subjected to different forms of abuses while in the hands of the Juba government.