The fate of two Kenyan pilots abducted in South Sudan lies in the hands exiled former Vice President, Riek Machar. The governor of Akobo, a region under the control of Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) allied to Machar, told The Saturday Standard that Captain Frank Njoroge and co-pilot Kennedy Shamalla would not be released unless the fine is paid.
“The only other option is if Riek Machar says we release them,” said Governor Koang Rambang. Captain Godwin Wachira, the owner of the crashed plane, yesterday said the rebels were demanding Sh20million for the two pilots to be released.
The pilots were taking off to Juba from the Upper Nile state’s Akobo County according to Wachira when the plane crashed. “The two had flown to the town in the morning and were flying back to the capital city when three minutes after takeoff, the plane went down and crashed on grass thatched houses near the airstrip,” Captain Wachira said. He said the plane had nine passengers on board but luckily, none was injured. Captain Njoroge’s wife has pleaded with the Government to intervene in the release of the duo. Mrs Beatrice Njoroge confirmed that her husband has been detained for the last ten days in a small town in Southern Sudan after their aircraft crashed in the rebel-controlled territory Upper Nile state.
“I spoke with my husband and he is frail. He suffers from high blood pressure. He needs urgent medical care. “I am requesting the Government to please step in so that they can be released,” Mrs Njoroge said. She said her husband said they were safe but were being fed one meal per day. Njoroge and Shamalla were abducted and put under tight security on the outskirts of Akobo town near the Ethiopian border immediately after the crash. They were flying the Kenyan-owned Cessna Caravan 5Y FDC plane that had been hired by a Juba-based non-governmental organisation to ferry its staff to the Upper Nile State when the crash occurred at 4.45pm on January 7. The plane had been hired by a Juba-based NGO to carry its staff to the upper Nile and after their assignment, they were to head back home. Wachira said he had spoken with Njoroge by phone and though they were not being tortured, they were living under harsh conditions.
What happened “Captain Njoroge is 61 and he is sick. He has a skin infection. “He told me that the living conditions were squalid. But at least they were being given food and somewhere to sleep. “They are free to move around in the small town, but at night they are under armed guards,” Wachira said. On September 24, last year, the SPLA-IO rebels captured 14 Southern Sudan government officials whom they are yet to release claiming that the captives were a security threat. Kenya’s ambassador to South Sudan Mr Cleland Leshore said he had established contact with the rebels in Akobo but they were adamant that the fine must be paid. Leshore said during the crash, one person on the ground and 11 cows were killed and that is why the rebels are demanding the fine. “The rebel commander communicated with Machar and they are waiting for him to okay the release of the abducted Kenyans. “The government in Juba is also playing a big role to secure their release,” Leshore said.
The crash in Akobo happened exactly ten years after Captain Njoroge survived a similar crash at Ruai on the outskirts of Nairobi in 2007. Captain Njoroge and his co-pilot were flying a Buffalo DHC 5 belonging to the International Committee of the Red Cross to Bardere, Somalia for a humanitarian mission.
National women’s team will face United States of America in the final of the third edition of the Statehood Day International tournament tomorrow at Imphal grounds in Manipur State, India.
The Kenyan team, captained by North Kenya Polo Club’s two goaler Tiva Gross sailed to the finals on an unbeaten run.
In a one-sided pool ‘A’ tie, Gross who teams up with four handicap zero players including Rowena Stichbury, Nicola Barlow, Imogen Voorspuy and Kaila Millar beat India Polo Association outfit 9-3 yesterday to cruise to the final.
Kenya begun their campaign by beating Manipur Thangjing 5-2 on Wednesday. Yesterday, Kenya proved too strong for the Indian national team from the very start with Gross notching in the opener 30 seconds into the first chukka. She then gave Kenya the second goal one minute 50 seconds later.
Millar added another for 0-3 but Monica Saxena reduced the gap towards the end of the opening chukka for a 1-3 scoreline.
The skipper was on target once again 55 seconds into the second chukka to complete her hat-trick. Gross then retrieved to the backline and together with Kaila, they ruthlessly locked out the Indians from Kenya’s area. Kenya pressed the Indian side in their own half yielding in a goal through Barlow as they headed for the break.
On resumption, Millar scored the sixth goal 55 seconds into the penultimate chukka. Barlow gave Kenya the seventh goal as Voorspuy made it 1-8 a minute and 18 seconds later.
A quarter a minute into the last period, Saxena hit in India’s second goal before Barlow completed her hat-trick for 2-9 in a chukka where Stichbury starred for Kenya on and off the ball. Saxena scored the third for India before the two lineups battled to a goalless 3:55 minutes.
“I was so proud of the Kenya girls, we pulled together to make some fantastic plays and carry the team to the final,” said Gross who felt the lead at half time was huge enough for her to leave the pitch and leave Kenya to play off handicap zero.
“Unbelievably, the third chukka ended up as one of the strongest with Millar playing at the back and hitting some great balls up to her forwards,” she added.
On their way to the finals, USA narrowly edged Australia 3-2 in their last group match. They had earlier shared spoils with Manipur Marjing 3-3. Millar said: “We were almost certain we would meet Australia in the final as they were looking like the strongest competition but lost by just one goal to the USA.”
Huawei Marine has started marine survey work for a new subsea cable that will link Pakistan with Kenya. The first phase of the cable will be 6,800km long. Huawei Marine and Tropic Science are looking to extend it along the African coast to South Africa and along the Red Sea towards Europe, taking it to a possible 13,000km.
The first phase of the cable, called Pakistan East Africa Cable Express (Peace) is due to be ready for service early in the fourth quarter of 2019. It will connect Gwadar and Karachi in Pakistan with three countries – Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya – on the east African coast.
Huawei said that the cable will use 200Gbps DWDM technology and will provide up to 60Tbps design capacity. The system is intended to provide a new information expressway for the interconnection among Asia, Africa and Europe by connecting with the existing land and subsea cables, greatly reducing the route length and latency between China-Africa and China-Europe.
"Huawei Marine has demonstrated its ability to plan and implement complex telecoms infrastructure projects and we believe this system will become an important infrastructure for Asian, African and European inter-continental communications and promote economic development of the regions." He Liehui, chairman of Tropic Science, said.
The New Zealand under-19s opening batsman blasted 180 from 144 balls on Wednesday at Hagley Oval as his side racked up an astonishing 436-4 against Kenya in the Under-19 Cricket World Cup in Christchurch.
It was the highest individual score ever at the tournament, as New Zealand claimed the second highest team total in tournament history.
Bhula, a Wellington College old boy, wasn't the only one to test the scorers. Fellow Wellingtonian Rachin Ravindra hit 117 from 101 balls opening the innings, part of a 245-run opening stand, while Finn Allen then hit 90 from 40 balls to truly put Kenya under the pump.
When Bhula and Allen fell in consecutive balls, New Zealand were 401-3 with 17 balls remaining. Dale Phillips, brother of Black Caps Twenty20 player Glenn, his 26 off 12 to further boost the score.
The previous highest individual score at the tournament was Donovan Pagon's 176 for the West Indies against Scotland in 2002, with that match played in Dunedin.
James Marshall did hold the record for New Zealand's highest under-19 World Cup score, with 164 not out against Namibia back in 1998 in South Africa.
Australia still own the highest ever team total, blasting Kenya for 480-6 at the same tournament and the same ground as Pagon's individual innings, back in 2002.
In reply, Kenya scored 193-4 in their 50 overs to lose by 243 runs. Aman Gandhi top scored with 63 from 106 balls opening the innings, while Ravindra snared 2-33 from his 10 overs of spin.
New Zealand next play South Africa on Saturday in a day-night match at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
AT A GLANCE:
New Zealand 436-4 (J Bhula 180 off 144, R Ravindra 117 off 101, F Allen 90 off 40) defeated Kenya 193-4 (A Gandhi 63 off 106, T Ochieng 39 off 47; R Ravindra 2-33 off 10) by 243 runs.
Nairobi city has been ranked third on the list “cities on the rise”, according to the travel site TripAdvisor. The Kenyan capital has been ranked behind Ishigaki City (Japan and Kapaa (Hawaii).
The site describes Nairobi as the safari capital of Africa and gives the city accolades as “energetic, modern city that serves as a fascinating introduction to both wildlife and nightlife. Music clubs pulse with life, shops and markets bustle, and a mélange of restaurants will tempt your palate in this former Maasai watering hole.”
The Top sights that contributed to the award include the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre and the black rhinos of Nairobi National Park. The safety of the city and its accessibility using taxis was also noted.
Ishigaki city was recognized for “the pure blue water around it, with white sandy beaches, augmented with glass-bottomed boat which reveal coral reefs and tropical fish from beneath.
Others on the list were Halifax (Nova Scotia); Gdansk (Poland); San Jose (Costa Rica); Riga (Latvia); Rovinj (Croatia) Nerja (Spain) and Casablanca (Morocco).
The winners are decided using an algorithm that measures the year-on-year increase in positive TripAdvisor ratings for restaurants, hotels and attractions, plus the number of destination bookings compared to previous years.