Joy and celebrations as two Kenyan pilots abducted in South Sudan return home

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BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,20TH FEB 2018-There was Joy  and celebrations  at the  Wilson Airport on Tuesday when two pilots returned from South Sudan where they had been held for almost two months.

The plane carrying the two  Captains Frank Njoroge and Kennedy Shamalla  touched down shortly after 2.30pm where they were met by happy and anxious family members who had been waiting since morning.

The two were freed after a ransom amounting to 100,000 US dollars was paid.

The pilots who were captured in January were received by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma in the full glare of the media.

Juma  who addressed  reporters  at the airport said that Njoroge and Shamalla had to be rushed to the hospital as their health had deteriorated.

“The family of the detained pilots have suffered great emotional and psychological distress during the unacceptable long period of detention. We are leaving straight for the hospital,” she said.

“They have both come back to their families emaciated and severely ill.”

Juma condemned the capture and urged Kenyans to exercise extreme caution especially while visiting countries undergoing unrest.

Oil-rich South Sudan has been riven by civil war since 2013. The conflict has displaced a third of the population, shut down most of the oil production and wrecked the economy.

“We condemn the capture and detention of pilots in the strongest terms possible,” the Minister said.

South Sudanese rebels released the two Kenyans after receiving compensation for the family of a civilian killed when their plane crashed last month.

Their plane came down in Akobo, in the Greater Upper Nile region in early January, Killing a woman and several livestock.

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