In the lastest development over the story broken a few hours ago it now transpires that Kenya Airways will use a window of opportunity to fly at least four times today from Nairobi to Juba, to airlift Kenyans out of the fighting zones.
The airline has confirmed they will use a Boeing B737-300 for the service with 116 seats overall, giving a ray of hope to nearly 500 stranded people wanting to do nothing but come home and celebrate the long end of Christmas with their loved ones.
Initially the airline, in conjunction with the Kenyan government, had planned for just two flights but then upped the game in a spirit of Christmas and after assessing the operational safety and security of such flights.
The first flight in fact is now already enroute back to Nairobi after taking a full load of passengers on board and the atmosphere will have been electric on board until the plane was airborne and the captain eventually announced that they entered Kenyan airspace.
As the flights are done for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi, which has put a hot line in place yesterday for Kenyans in South Sudan and for their relatives at home, and are coordinated by the Kenyan diplomatic mission in Juba, the free lift home will be an added bonus for many Kenyans many of whom have reportedly lost property and money before managing to reach the relative safety of the Juba airport.
At present no one can confirm if these evacuation flights will continue tomorrow but for now, all scheduled flights remain suspended until at least 31st of December.
President Kenyatta and the Ethiopian Prime Minister are expected to fly to Juba and talk to the regime of Salva Kiir in order to find a political solution but Kiir’s abrasive behaviour and abrupt departure from talks with the Father of the South Sudan nation’s widow, Mrs. Rebecca Garang, do not give much hope for immediate reconciliation and a cease fire.