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Kenya receives freed South Sudan leaders

Thursday May 8 2014

President Uhuru Kenyatta (second from right) shakes hands with South Sudan's former secretary-general of the ruling party, Pagan Amum, on May 8, 2014, in Nairobi. Amum was one of the politicians freed after their trial for treason was stopped in a move seen as a step towards ending brutal civil war. AFP PHOTO / PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta (second from right) shakes hands with South Sudan's former secretary-general of the ruling party, Pagan Amum, on May 8, 2014, in Nairobi. Mr Amum was one of the politicians freed after their trial for treason was stopped in a move seen as a step towards ending brutal civil war. AFP PHOTO / PSCU AFP

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Four top South Sudan leaders freed after their trial for treason was stopped in a move seen as a step towards ending brutal civil war have arrived in Nairobi, the office of President Uhuru Kenyatta said Thursday.

The four, including the former secretary-general of the ruling party Pagan Amum, were released from detention last month, but President Salva Kiir initially banned them from travelling abroad.

However, President Kenyatta met with the four on Thursday in Nairobi.

“The detainees... were released and handed over to him last week,” the president's office said in a statement, adding it was “a first step” in reconciliation.

The three other freed detainees are ex-national security minister Oyai Deng Ajak, former ambassador to the US Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, and ex-deputy defence minister Majak D’Agoot.

PRESIDENT'S APPRECIATION

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The four were the last of 11 leaders held after being arrested in Juba in December when fighting broke out between members of the presidential guard.
The other seven were freed and handed over to Kenya in January.

President Kenyatta expressed his appreciation to the South Sudan leader for taking bold steps to release all political detainees so as to restore peace in the troubled country.

He urged the four former detainees to participate fully in regional initiatives to stop the ongoing fighting and ensure cessation of hostilities for sustainable peace in their country.

President Kenyatta said with no political detainees remaining in South Sudan, the country and the region can now single-mindedly and without distraction focus on the cessation of hostilities.