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Salva Kiir: Uhuru Kenyatta betrayed me after failed 2013 coup

By Josphat Thiong’o | July 9th 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta with the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir at State House, Nairobi. [Courtesy]

South Sudan President Salva Kiir has alleged that President Uhuru Kenyatta betrayed him by releasing Sudanese detainees believed to have been involved in the failed 2013 coup.

According to President Kiir, Uhuru who was acting on behalf of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in 2013, barred the detainees affiliated to the Sudanese People Liberation Movement (SPLM) from answering to charges against them by the Sudanese government and shedding light on their role in the coup attempt.

In an interview on Citizen TV, he said Uhuru instead resolved to offer them asylum in Kenya until the situation cooled down in South Sudan on condition that they would not be involved in any politics.

He recounted how upon granting Uhuru’s request, his special envoy then, former Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, was sent to collect the detainees and flew them to Kenya.

“I am not happy with Kenya because, after the attempted Sudan coup of 2013, President Uhuru under IGAD took the lead and said he was coming to take the leaders that I had apprehended during the coup.

"I told him that I could not hand over the people to him so that they could answer to charges and shed light on their role in the coup,” he said.

Kiir added: “But on that evening I tuned into Kenyan news where I saw President Uhuru receiving the detainees. They were later released and given travel documents and some went to Ethiopia, Europe and even America.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta with the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir at State House, Nairobi. [Courtesy]

The Head of State however says his relationship with President Uhuru is now okay.

“My relationship with President Kenyatta now is good. I told him as my brother that I was disappointed in his actions but he said he thought he was doing what was right at the time,” he added.

The failed coup in 2013 caused chaos and the South Sudan president called on the international community to lift numerous sanctions placed on his state.

He argued that an arms embargo has prevented him and other state actors from implementing a peace treaty.

“The international community and UN should give us room to do our own things by lifting the sanctions as well as the arms embargo. The embargo has seen our hands tied and unable to implement an agreement we have signed,” he said.

“The agreement cannot be implemented without arming the unified forces which consist of all the groups that were fighting.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta with the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir at State House, Nairobi. [Courtesy]

He further lamented over the manner in which IGAD was handling the situation in Sudan.

“In the beginning, IGAD was not straightforward with me and I am not happy with the way they have handled the situation in South Sudan.

"They refused to heed my advice only for what I had warned them against to happen in Ethiopia,” observed Kiir.

Yesterday, South Sudan commemorated ten years since they got independence.

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