Nairobi - Kenya said Saturday it will send troops to troubled South Sudan to evacuate some 1 600 citizens, with many trapped in the flashpoint rebel-held town of Bor.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has “ordered the KDF (Kenya Defence Force) to commence immediate evacuation of the 1,600 Kenyans stranded in South Sudan”, presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu said in a statement.
Fighting broke out in South Sudan's capital Juba between army factions last Sunday, and it has since spread to other regions.
“Despite the relative calm in Juba, a number of other South Sudan towns have come under fire,” he added, saying that Kenyans “are mainly in the town of Bor”.
Others, in the towns of Rumbek, Ayod, and Panyabol “will also be airlifted to safety.”
Military flights of aid supplies to Juba began Saturday, Esipisu added.
“The president has also ordered the immediate delivery of food, water and medicine to South Sudan (to help) tackle the emergency,” he said.
“The delivery of these emergency supplies started this morning. Kenyan military aircraft are delivering consignments to South Sudan.”
Kenya, which hosted the long running peace talks that ended the 1983-2005 civil war in Sudan - and which paved the way for South Sudan's independence two years ago - is also supporting peace efforts to end this crisis.
Several nations have sent in emergency flights to evacuate citizens, while Uganda on Friday deployed troops to South Sudan, to boost security and help its people leave safely.