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Truckers suspend travel to South Sudan after two drivers shot dead en-route Juba

Truck drivers hold a meeting at Elegu border point. URN photo

NOTHERN, UGANDA: Truckers have suspended travels to South Sudan following the shooting of two Kenyan truck drivers. Haron Abdulahi Ore and Issa Salad were transporting merchandise to Juba in South Sudan aboard trucks registration number KCF 035M and KBN 363L respectively when they were killed.

Sudi Mwatela Kauli, the Chairperson of the Long-Distance Truck Drivers Association says that the incident happened at around 5pm on Sunday at Nesitu, Jubek county in the Central Equatorial State, about 120 kilometers to Nimule border along the Juba-Nimule highway.

Fifteen other truck drivers of different nationalities are also feared kidnapped by suspected South Sudanese gunmen since they have been missing since Sunday.

In his report to their chairperson at Elegu border point on Monday, Yusuf Musibi, a long-distance truck driver said the deceased truckers were part of 46 truckers destined for Juba on the fateful evening.

Musibi noted that the whereabouts of fifteen other truckers of different nationalities is still unclear because they have not shown up where they often converge in Juba.

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The truckers have since reported cases of missing persons at Elegu police station. Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner told URN that the bodies and vehicles of the deceased truckers were still in South Sudan by the time of filing this story. He noted that it is still unclear which group attacked the truckers.

Oceng told URN this morning that his office was yet to write to the Ministry of Internal Affairs about the matter. Sudi Mwatela Kauli, the Long-Distance Truck Drivers Association chairperson says that South Sudan promised them security and patrol, which only lasted for a week.

He noted that all the long-distance truck drivers destined to South Sudan have since Monday parked their vehicles until the matter is fully resolved.

Zedi Male, the Vice-Chairperson Long Distance Truck Drivers Association at Elegu border says they are wondering why the shootings took place next to a military detachment. This is the fourth time truckers are being shot in the same area within a space of five weeks.

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In mid-July this year, unknown gunmen dressed in South Sudan People’s Défense Forces (SSDF) military uniform waylaid and shot dead two Ugandan truckers and injured another in the same area. Male re-echoed demands by the long-distance truck drivers for South Sudan to commit to providing them security while in their country.

By Tuesday morning, more than 300 trucks destined for Juba had parked at Elegu border point in a sit-down strike. David Ongom Mudong, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson has urged Ugandans to be extra vigilant about the current security situation in South Sudan especially along the routes.

In April this year, truck drivers staged a protest at Elegu border point following the shooting of their colleagues and extortion by suspected South Sudanese along the Nimule-Juba highway.

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