The South Sudan conflict is now more of a regional crisis, far more than a civil conflict restricted only to one country, and that is reason enough to send chills in Africa’s eastern region.
Right to South Sudan’s south, Kenya has its package of worries to tackle concerning the South Sudan conflict, with the now escalating killings that have never been experienced in the past.
In fact as it is, the United Nations has withdrawn its personnel from the warring Africa’s youngest nation, unable to bear the increased fighting, coupled with mass killings, rape and abductions.
Following these current reports, regional states are concerned that the repercussions from the prolonged conflict could compromise regional security, peace and stability, thus undermining their economic, political and security interests.
And Kenya being a close neighbor on the northern frontier, the protracted South Sudan conflict will affect the country in terms of trade and investment, infrastructure projects and influx of refugees.
Kenya is one of the largest foreign investors in South Sudan, and with the increased violence in the country, Kenyans stand to lose their sunk costs on investments in South Sudan, in such sectors as banking, insurance, aviation, construction, hospitality, and information and communication technologies (ICT), transportation, and wholesale and retail trade.
OSINT reports also have it that a number of Kenyans working in the country have been forced to return home with the huge loss in employment opportunities on the onset of the South Sudan conflict.
Also likely to be impacted upon is the Lamu Port-South-Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project that is bound to encounter delays with the escalating South Sudan conflict.
As Kenya tries to deal with Dadaab camp, which happens to be the largest camp in the world, another more similar problem is likely to crop up with the swelling of Kakuma camp, which hosts refugees fleeing the South Sudan conflict.
In fact, according to United Nations High Commission for Refugees, by February last year, an estimated 170,000 South Sudanese had crossed into neighboring countries of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan. An even bigger number has crossed specifically to Kenya in only a few months.
And revelation according to the OSINT sources have it that the incoming refugees are carrying with them small arms, which hits hard on Kenya’s challenge of security.
Since the South Sudan conflict has a greater regional impact, especially to Kenya, which has all the while stood by the country in the course of the conflict, there is dire need for then greater African block to help speed up the negotiations that are stagnating realization of peace in South Sudan.