Re­lease Machar’s rep, SPLM-IO tells Kenya

‘It’s un­for­tu­nate the Kenyan gov­ern­ment wants to hand over an op­po­si­tion spokesper­son to a gov­ern­ment that killed its peo­ple’

The Star (Kenya) - - News - LEWIS NYAUNDI @X_nyaun­diH

The Su­danese Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment-In Op­po­si­tion has de­manded re­lease of Riek Machar’s spokesper­son, say­ing he should be granted po­lit­i­cal asy­lum in an­other coun­try.

This fol­lows re­ports spokesman James Gat­det has been ar­rested by Kenyan se­cu­rity agen­cies and is de­tained at the JKIA po­lice sta­tion.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the UN Miy­ong Kuon on Wed­nes­day said they have re­ports Gat­det will be de­ported.

SPLM-IO con­demned the de­ten­tion as a vi­o­la­tion of the UN Char­ter on Free­dom of Ex­pres­sion and As­so­ci­a­tion. “I’m ap­peal­ing to your es­teemed of­fice to abort the de­por­ta­tion case of James Gat­det and ac­cord him asy­lum in a coun­try where he will be safe to re­side,” Kuon said in a let­ter to UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon.

He said the de­ten­tion should be con­demned by all state lead­ers, in­clud­ing Kenya as a UN mem­ber. “It’s un­for­tu­nate the Kenyan gov­ern­ment wants to take this un­wel­come move of hand­ing over an op­po­si­tion spokesper­son to a gov­ern­ment that killed its own peo­ple,” the let­ter said.

But South Su­dan Am­bas­sador Mar­i­ano Deng said the ar­rest will not cre­ate a diplo­matic is­sue be­tween the two coun­tries. “We are not go­ing to get in­volved in the mat­ter, as it is be­tween Kenya and an in­di­vid­ual, not South Su­dan,” he told the Star on the phone.

Deng said Kenya’s re­la­tion­ship with his coun­try will not be af­fected, and the Kenyan gov­ern­ment must have a good rea­son for the ar­rest. He said he did not know the rea­son, but it was not re­lated to a UN de­ci­sion. “We are grate­ful to Kenya for ef­forts to re­store peace in South Su­dan,” Deng said.

The Kenyan side re­fused to com­ment. Speaking to jour­nal­ists yes­ter­day, gov­ern­ment spokesman Eric Ki­raithe said the is­sue is a sen­si­tive se­cu­rity mat­ter and he would not in­ter­fere.

He said Kenya main­tains its po­si­tion on im­me­di­ate with­drawal of Kenyan troops from the UN Su­dan mis­sion.

/ FILE

Pres­i­dent Uluru Kenyatta and Riek Machar at State House, Nairobi, in 2014. Machar had paid a cour­tesy call on the Pres­i­dent

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