commercial trucks refusing to enter South Sudan due to insecurity | Voice of America

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JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN – Hundreds of commercial trucks carrying goods to South Sudan stopped at borders this week as drivers refused to make deliveries due to insecurity. A spate of armed attacks on vehicles in South Sudan last month left at least 15 dead. Truckers say they will not leave Uganda and Kenya until their safety is guaranteed.

David Kirotho Mathinde, president of the Kenyan Drivers Association, said attacks on roads from Juba to the towns of Nimule and Yei have claimed the lives of several foreign truckers in recent months.

He said no trucks would leave for South Sudan if the government does not provide security along the roads.

“You see, these guys hijacked people – not just people, but killed drivers,” Mathinde said. “. . . If the government of (South) Sudan does not take any action … we will discuss this matter with our government and make sure that no one enters this country. “

Mathinde said drivers often put their lives at risk delivering food to countries like South Sudan and Congo, which are struggling with food insecurity, and that it is not fair that they are targeted.

He said the association has repeatedly called on the government of South Sudan to strengthen security, but nothing has ever been done.

All drivers want, he said, is protection.

“Let them make sure we have full security support,” Mathinde said. “No driver should be killed, no goods should be stolen.”

Colonel Santo Domic, deputy spokesman for the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), said the chief of staff had implemented plans to ensure security on the main roads leading to Juba .

Domic said it was decided at a strategic security meeting of the SSPDF that forces along the route from Juba to Nimule and from Juba to Yei need to be reinforced. The security forces have been strengthening since Friday, he said.

“We are going to locate a lot of detachments along these roads,” he said. “Of course, it is impossible to close all the roads with the military, but we will fill all these gaps either by foot patrol or by mechanized patrol.”

Domic said the military will ensure roads are safe for the movement of all commercial trucks and for humanitarian operations.

Daniel Deng, a border officer in the city of Nimule, said there were around 3,000 trucks parked on the Ugandan side of the border. He said if the stalemate persists, fuel and food prices in South Sudan could start to rise as the landlocked country depends on goods transported by its neighbors.

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