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Couple barred from job in war zone

A Nairobi couple has been left without a source of livelihood after fleeing South Sudan, where they had been employed as teachers for three years.

The fighting between rebels and government forces has not only crippled learning in the world’s youngest nation but also sent many expatriates fleeing to their countries.

Having flown back to Kenya, Simon Karani  and his wife Janet Wanjiru  are stranded; not knowing where to find a job.

For the three years they have lived and worked in South Sudan, insecurity did not bother them much.

But the current situation has given them sleepless nights. Karani   is a teaching assistant at Dr John Garang Memorial University, while his wife  Janet is a teacher in Bor.

The couple was scheduled to travel back to Bor this week  when most learning institutions were to reopen, but as the fighting continues, they are at a loss.

“We hope things will go back to normal to enable us return to work. If the fighting does not stop, we will be forced to look for alternatives here,” said Mr Karani.

The said they could not access money in their accounts in South Sudan, making their lives even more miserable.

“I had saved a lot of money in two different accounts in KCB and Equity Bank but I can’t withdraw it,” he said.

They were lucky enough to arrive in Kenya before the situation degenerated into the present chaos.

“We travelled to Kenya  two weeks before the fighting started. Although security was not good, we didn’t imagine the matter would become as chaotic as what we are now witnessing,” he said.

Karani said the two  banks show that his accounts  have  all the money, but they refuse to change the South Sudan pounds into local currency.

Karani and his wife said they were hoping to withdraw money from their accounts soon.

Business people who operated big shops in South Sudan lost property valued at millions of shillings. Samuel Mungai Karanja, the proprietor of Basmark Enterprises in Bor said his shop was  looted.

“I don’t know where to start. I lost everything,” he said

Most Kenyan businesses in Malakal, Bentiu and Bor were looted by groups supporting President Salva Kiir or his former deputy turned bitter rival Riek Machar.