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Kenya set to end rescue operation in South Sudan on Friday

NAIROBI, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government announced on Thursday that evacuation of citizens trapped in South Sudan hotspots will be terminated on Friday.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Engineer Karanja Kibicho told journalists in Nairobi that two aircrafts will fly to South Sudan on Friday to rescue the last batch of Kenyans stranded in conflict zones.

So far, 3,000 Kenyans have been airlifted from South Sudan by military choppers since the commencement of a government led evacuation program on Dec. 21.

"The remaining Kenyans numbering 6,921 across the country have expressed willingness to continue with their business since there is no immediate threat to their security," the foreign ministry official said.

There were an estimated 25,000 Kenyans in South Sudan before the eruption of the violence.

The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that four Kenyans have died in South Sudan conflict. He noted that rescue operations have been scaled down in South Sudan capital juba due to resumption of calm.

Early this week, Kenya's foreign ministry said an estimated 20, 000 Kenyans have left South Sudan by road and air adding that most of them self-evacuated while the government evacuated those in the most sensitive areas.

The government official's remarks come as negotiators from the warring parties in South Sudan are in Ethiopia for peace talks that were due to begin Thursday.

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