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South Sudan Clearing Bushes, Disbands Roadblocks Along Nimule-Juba Highway

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Sudi Mwatela, the Chairperson of Long-distance Truck Drivers Association has told URN that the South Sudan authorities started clearing the bushes along the highway from Nesitu in the East Equatorial on Wednesday morning.
Trucks parked at Elegu border point. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara
The South Sudanese government has started clearing bushes and disbanded all roadblocks along the Nimule-Juba Highway following the spate of armed attacks on travellers. The thick bushes along the 192kilometers highway from Elegu border in Uganda had become a death trap for travellers as they acted as a den for armed robbers and rebel groups that would often attack foreign truck drivers.

More than 40 foreign truckers have been killed and injured by armed gunmen between 2016 and August this year. The truckers also say that unscrupulous security people have been using the roadblocks to extort money and loot cargo destined for South Sudan. 

A fortnight ago, foreign truck drivers suspended all travels to South Sudan until Tuesday this week after gunmen killed two of their colleagues. The truckers under their association of Long-distance Truck Drivers Association then demanded that the South Sudan authorities clear the roadside bushes 15-meters on either side of the highway and disband the roadblocks before the resume their operations.    

On Tuesday, the truckers resumed operations following a commitment by the South Sudan Internal Affairs Ministry to provide them security, clear the bushes and disband the many roadblocks. Sudi Mwatela, the Chairperson of Long-distance Truck Drivers Association has told URN that the South Sudan authorities started clearing the bushes along the highway from Nesitu in the East Equatorial on Wednesday morning. 

Sudi, who was among the first truckers to resume operation, said all roadblocks along the highway had also been disbanded as earlier communicated by the South Sudan government.  He also revealed that more than 800 trucks that had parked at Elegu border point had by Wednesday evening entered South Sudan. 

Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner who brokered the meetings between the South Sudan government and truckers on behalf of Uganda expressed appreciation on the decision by the government of South Sudan to provide security along the highway.   

By Wednesday evening, more truckers were arriving at Elegu border from the neighbouring Bibia and Attiak Town Councils in Amuru district, Gulu City, Kamdini Town Council in Oyam district and Malaba border post where they had parked because of the strike.

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