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PS: No plans to bring home Kenyans stuck in Burundi

By Mercy Adhiambo | Dec 15th 2015 | 2 min read
Karanja Kibicho

The Government does not have immediate plans to evacuate Kenyans in war-torn Burundi.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said they are aware of the unrest in the capital Bujumbura, but they have to do a thorough assessment to decide if the threshold is high enough for them to embark on evacuation.

However, those who have returned to Kenya, felt that the Government should spring into action and save the many Kenyans who are trapped in a country that has degenerated into chaos in what is turning out to be one of the deadliest cases of political violence in East Africa.

Dorcas Adhiambo, a first year student at the Hope Africa University in Burundi, narrated how every time she heard a gunshot echoing close to her house, she would recoil and pray that a bullet did not hit her.

She described her stay in Burundi, especially the last few weeks, as traumatising. The once busy town that she had walked into when she joined college became devoid of human activity as most people preferred to stay indoors with the hope that things would stabilise.

They never did. She said the Friday attack that left nearly 90 people dead not only scared her but also made her decide to come back. “I didn’t want to keep jumping and screaming anytime I heard gun shots,” said Ms Adhiambo.

Her journey back home started the day after the brutal attack. She said it took her two days crossing borders and hopping into different buses before she got to Nairobi.

Delicate position

Adhiambo said she is in constant communication with some of her Kenyan classmates who remained in Burundi, and most of them are looking for ways to return home.

The PS said the violence in Bujumbura has put Kenya in a delicate position because the country is a major investor in Burundi. “It would send a very wrong message if we evacuate people yet there is no basis to do that. We have not received reports of any Kenyan in danger,” said Mr Kibicho.

The Kenyan embassy in Burundi Monday issued a statement asking Kenyans to exercise caution. The statement further said the embassy is concerned about the eruption of violence in the country and urged the Burundi government to find ways to resolve the conflict.

Kenyan Ambassador to Burundi Kenneth Vitisia, advised Kenyans feeling endangered to make individual decisions to travel back home.

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