Uganda and Kenyan long-distance truck drivers have threatened to boycott transportation of goods to South Sudan citing unceasing armed attacks along the Nimule-Juba highway.
Their concerns follow a fresh attack on cargo trucks early last week in which a Ugandan driver was beaten to comma by gunmen, while six Kenyan nationals were hijacked and their trucks abandoned on the road.Uganda and Kenyan long-distance truck drivers have threatened to boycott transportation of goods to South Sudan citing unceasing armed attacks along the Nimule-Juba highway.
Their concerns follow a fresh attack on cargo trucks early last week in which a Ugandan driver was beaten to comma by gunmen, while six Kenyan nationals were hijacked and their trucks abandoned on the road.
Vincent Mulika aka Kamanda, the Ugandan driver of truck number UAJ 174T was battered unconscious on Tuesday at around 5:00 pm, near Nesitu Town before he was rushed to Juba Referral Hospital. The Kenyan truckers were intercepted at Terekeka checkpoint.
Adan Geli Ali, a Kenyan Trucker told Uganda Radio Network (URN) in WhatsApp audio recording from Juba that that they were from Rumbel en-route to Juba when they found trucks belonging to their colleagues abandoned.
According Geli, he narrated that they decided to drive the trucks to Kakuma Garage in Juba for safety. He argued that South Sudan authorities should expedite their search for their missing colleagues.
Liban Mohamed, another trucker observed that an eye witness told them that the gunmen forced each of their captives to make phone calls to their bosses to demand for 15,000,000 million South Sudanese Pounds – SSP in ransom.
Sudi Mwatela, the Secretary of the Kenyan Long-Distance Truck Drivers Association said they have only identified the missing drivers as Mohammed of truck registration KBS 735W and his turn man; Abdirizak, the driver of KBM 742R, Shueb who was driving truck registration SSD 512S and Abdillahi and his co-driver, they were traveling in KBT 720J truck.
Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner observed that South Sudan’s Nimule-Juba highway has become so risky for truckers from neighboring Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.
In March, 13 truckers were killed and several others were injured following attacks on their cargo convoys. According to Mali Zedi, the Vice Chairperson of Uganda Long-Distance Truckers’ Association, the retrieved bodies included 10 Ugandans, two Kenyans and an Eritrean.
Several trucks were burnt with dead bodies inside them. This led to a nine-day protest by the drivers who parked their trucks at Elegu border, the main entry point to landlocked South Sudan.
The biting effect of the strike cut off supply of goods and services to Juba and forced South Sudan to seek Uganda’s intervention to negotiate with truckers to end their strike. During the meeting, Gen. Majak Akec, South Sudan’s Inspector General of Police promised to provide security escorts to the truckers from Nimule to Juba and back.
Attempts to get responses from the South Sudan authorities about the increasing highway armed attacks on foreign truckers were futile. URN