Pilots held captive in South Sudan arrive in Nairobi

Captain Pius Frank Njoroge (second right) and co-pilot Kennedy Shamalla (third right) when they arrived in Nairobi on February 20, 2018 after being held captive by South Sudan rebels for one month. KENNEDY KIMANTHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

Two Kenyan pilots detained by rebels in South Sudan after their plane crashed are back home.

Captain Pius Frank Njoroge and his co-pilot Kennedy Shamalla, who have been under the custody of Sudan People's Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) for over a month, were received at the Wilson Airport in Nairobi by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and their families.

They were immediately taken to Mater Hospital for treatment.

Appeared frail

Captain Njoroge appeared frail when he landed and was helped by the Kenya Red Cross officials to walk.

Dr Juma said her ministry and the company the pilots worked for secured their release.

"Kenya deplores the unfriendly and inhumane response of the SPLM-IO to what was an unfortunate accident," the minister said.

The rebels

She condemned the capture and detention of the pilots and asked Kenyans travelling to countries with instability to be cautious.

The two were released after the government and the rebels agreed on the amount of money to be paid as compensation for loss of life and property when the Cessna Caravan crashed in Akobo, in the Greater Upper Nile of South Sudan, on January 7.

The owner of the aircraft, Captain Godwin Wachira, who was also at the airport, said the rebels were paid $107,743 (Sh11 million) by UAP insurance company.

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