A family in Likuyani, Kakamega County has asked the government to help secure release of their relative detained in South Sudan.
The family told The Standard that their kin who has been working with different companies in South Sudan for close to ten years has been in detention for more than three weeks now.
“Steve called me on November 12 and told me that he was travelling home, he makes at least three weeks’ visits home after every three or four months. We were expecting him the next day but we became alarmed when he could not be reached on his phone, making it difficult to know if he had travelled or not,” said his brother, Bernard Wekesa.
He said that it is after he called his sibling’s friends in Juba where he was working as a chef for BMMI Company that he realized his brother had been arrested on arrival to the airport. The company his brother works for is contracted by USAID in the US Embassy in South Sudan
“We followed up on the arrest through his friends and colleagues who later told us that he had been detained at Blue House Jebel Detention Centre by the South Sudan National Security agents that were grilling him on some security issues,” explained Bernard.
He said that the family called his employer who together with the USAID team coordinated to stablish reasons for Steve’s arrest and detention.
“A person who identified himself as Chris Baker at the USAID told us that they had followed up the matter and found out that Steve had not committed any offense and the officers at the detention centres were waiting for the Director General to sign a release order,” revealed Bernard.
Leonard Wekesa, cousin to Steve added that the family has tried in vain to get to know the condition of their brother, a situation that has heightened anxiety in the family.
“If they say he did not commit the offence it would be wise they release him. The employers, USAID and Kenya’s Embassy officials have not confirmed that they have seen our brother, they are relying on assurances from the National Security only,” said Leonard.
Speaking to The Standard by phone however, William Mwadime a Consulate officer at the Kenya’s Embassy in South Sudan said they are following up the matter and assured the family that their son is fine.
“It is a matter we are pursuing. Steve was arrested over a matter of national security involving his company though he was found not to have committed any offense hence is supposed to be released,” said Mwadime.
Mwadime said he personally contacted General Deng Akol the Director of Protection National Security who assured him that Steve was clean and would be released anytime the Director General signs his releases order.
“The family should be calm, we are informed that the Director General National Security has returned to town and could be signing the release order anytime from now. As the Embassy we will pick up the matter after his release to ensure that he is fine,” said Mwadime.
The family is however worried stating that this has been a consistent message concerning their brother for over one week and called on the foreign affairs ministry to intervene and hasten the release of their brother.
“The family especially his two wives and our parents are putting much pressure on us and we have reached at a point that they don’t believe we are doing enough, we really need help from the government,” said Bernard.