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
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.
Emmy Daniel Ojara is a young journalist and has been practicing since 2013, during which he covered land rights violation in the contested Apaa and Lakang in Amuru as his first take ups while at Gulu Fm, Favor Fm and later Paidha Fm and Speak Fm where he is still attached.
Human rights abuses and denied access to land by security and government agencies has been the major aftermath of the contest over the lands. The underprivileged such as women, children and the elderly faced challenges in accessing soc