NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan pilots on Wednesday called for
immediate release of two of their colleagues who were
arrested by the rebels in South Sudan early January.
Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) expressed great
concern about continued detention of the two pilots
following an unfortunate accident involving a Cessna
Caravan aircraft, 5Y-FDC, in South Sudan on Jan. 7.
“We call on
the Government of Kenya, and all other parties involved
in the negotiations with the Government of South Sudan,
to fast-track the immediate release of the two Pilots,”
KALPA Acting Secretary General Captain Murithi Nyagah
said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
pilots - Frank Njoroge and Kennedy Shamalla - have been
in captivity for more than three weeks, following the
plane crash in Akobo, in the Greater Nile Region.
Sudan’s army (SPLA) said on Jan. 23 that the rebels
allied to former First Vice President Riek Machar are
demanding 200,000 U.S. dollars compensation for losses
suffered as a result of the crash in order to release
two Kenyan pilots being held in the war-torn country.
spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang said the SPLA-In Opposition
(SPLA-IO) are demanding hefty blood compensation that
exceeds traditional limits for the release of the two
pilots in rebel captivity after their plane crashed on
Jan. 7 in Akobo area in the northern Upper Nile region
killing one person and cows.
required blood (compensation) money according to Nuer
tradition is 50 cows but what they are demanding for is
very high,” Koang said in Juba, adding that the 200,000
dollars being demanded by rebels is exorbitant and
breaks with tradition.
appreciate that compensation would be a natural
requirement in the face of human and property losses,
the continued captivity of the two Kenyan pilots is in
total contravention of their human rights and poses a
potential risk to their health and wellbeing,” Nyagah
and in line with the laws governing commercial aviation
practice, there are laid out mechanisms for resolving
disputes and advancing conversations on compensation,
and the two pilots should not bear the brunt of this
unfortunate incident,” he added.
all Kenyan commercial and chartered flight operators to
withhold flights into and within South Sudan until such
a time the two pilots are released, and the security of
Kenyan pilots, as well as Kenyan-registered aircraft
within South Sudan airspace is guaranteed.
descended into violence in December 2013 after political
dispute between President Salva Kiir and Machar led to
fighting that pitted mostly Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal
to Kiir against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.
peace agreement to end the violence was again violated
in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in
the capital forcing Machar to flee into exile.