Kenya spent Sh119 million to evacuate citizens from Sudan, where fighting between rival generals is raging.
The Treasury invoked Article 223 of the Constitution to secure funding for the removal of Kenyans caught in the crossfire.
Kenya withdrew the emergency funding on May 3, 2022 and secured the repatriation of more than 900 citizens who were in Sudan when tensions erupted into armed exchanges between regular army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy turned rival, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
“Sh119 million…for evacuation costs of Kenyans in distress in Sudan,” Treasury said in the Supplementary Budget II tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.
The Treasury cut the current budget by Sh31 billion in the second mini-budget that was tabled hours before Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u read the budget speech for the financial year starting July 1, 2023.
Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua in May announced that more than 900 Kenyans had been evacuated from Sudan following the fight between the two rival generals.
“We have evacuated 409 Kenyans from Khartoum. There are others living outside Khartoum that have opted to remain there. We have also helped evacuate over 500 people from other nationalities and offered them safe passage. Evacuation is ongoing,” Mutua said then.
Fighting has gripped Sudan since April 15 when tensions erupted into armed exchanges between regular army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy turned rival, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
President William Ruto said the conflict had reached “catastrophic levels” with the warring generals declining “to heed the calls by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union and the international community to cease fire.”
In a virtual meeting with senior UN officials, Dr Ruto said it was imperative to find ways to provide humanitarian relief “with or without a ceasefire”.
Mr Burhan and Mr Daglo, who fell out after carrying out a 2021 military coup which derailed Sudan’s transition to elective civilian rule, have flouted multiple ceasefires, the latest a 72-hour extension agreed late on Sunday.
Foreign governments have scrambled to evacuate their citizens. Thousands of foreigners have been brought to safety by air or sea in operations that are now winding down.
Sudan’s turmoil has seen hospitals shelled, humanitarian facilities looted and foreign aid groups forced to suspend most of their operations.
Beyond Khartoum, lawlessness has engulfed the West Darfur state capital, El Geneina, where people have been reported killed since the start of the fighting, according to UN figures.
More than 330,000 people have been displaced, over 70 percent of them in West and South Darfur states, according to the International Organization for Migration.
The Darfur region is still scarred by a war that erupted in 2003 when then hardline president Omar al-Bashir unleashed the Janjaweed militia, mainly recruited from Arab pastoralist tribes, against ethnic-minority rebels.
The scorched-earth campaign left at least 300,000 people dead and close to 2.5 million displaced, according to UN figures.
The Janjaweed — which rights groups have accused of atrocities in Darfur — later evolved into the RSF, which was formally created in 2013.
Source : NATION