INSECURITY TARGETING THEM

Kenyan drivers refuse to deliver goods to South Sudan

They cite harassment by immigration officers, extortion, abduction and murder of foreigners

In Summary

• They condemn too many roadblocks where they have to pay every time they are stopped. 

• Say a Kenyan driver was two weeks ago abducted and killed along the Nimule-Juba Road while two other drivers from Eritrea were arrested. 

Heavy traffic jam caused by trucks at Malaba border
Heavy traffic jam caused by trucks at Malaba border
Image: FILE

More than 400 drivers have refused to deliver goods to South Sudan following increased cases of murder and attacks targeting them.

The drivers, including 200 from Kenya, have camped at the Elegu-Nimule border and have vowed not to proceed to Juba until their grievances are addressed. 

Among the grievances raised by the drivers include abduction and murder of foreigner drivers, insecurity, extortion and harassment by immigration officers among others. 

 

Following the impasse, a meeting between the drivers’ representatives, Uganda Revenue Authority and their South Sudan counterparts was held. It did not bear any fruits.

Drivers chairman Adams Jela said a Kenyan driver was two weeks ago abducted and killed along the Nimule-Juba Road while two other drivers from Eritrea were arrested.

“The Nimule-Juba road has become a killer highway with soldiers openly robbing us and in other cases, rebels have openly attacked us in broad daylight,” he said.

Jela added that there were too many roadblocks at which every driver was supposed to pay 700 South Sudan pounds.

He identified several towns along the road as very dangerous adding that drivers were also been forced to pay illegal parking fees by the armed soldiers.

“Immigration officers are the worst in terms of extortion and in getting Yellow fever cards and this is forcing drivers to undergo lots of losses.” 

Jela added that whenever drivers accidentally hit livestock along the road, their documents were confiscated and forced to pay very high fines.

 

“We are driving in fear into South Sudan and if you are not arrested and falsely charged by the solders, you will get robbed by rebels or killed by the rebels,” the chairman added.

Their secretary Salma Owalla said after meeting the South Sudan and Uganda officers, some decisions had been reached, though the drivers still feared for their lives. 

“The drivers are demanding compensation for the family of the driver who was killed. His body should be airlifted to Kenya,” he said.

He added, "If our grievances are not addressed, we want South Sudan to construct a cargo depot on the border where we can be dropping our cargo instead of risking our lives." 

Contacted on phone, a senior officer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who declined to be named said the issue had been raised and there were following it up.

Edited by R.Wamochie