JUBA, 11 April 2021 – Over 2,000 trucks ferrying food items and other merchandise from Uganda to South Sudan have been stranded a full week at the Elegu border on the Ugandan side.
Ugandan truckers are refusing to drive into South Sudan unless their security is guaranteed, preferably through the provision of armed escorts.
Fears of insecurity have grown ever since five Ugandan truckers were killed in an ambush on the road to the South Sudanese capital, Juba.
Four more Ugandan drivers were killed last week in another ambush along the Juba-Yei highway.
The attacks and growing insecurity have disrupted cross-border trade between Uganda and South Sudan as well as between Kenya and South Sudan.
The Union of Kenyan Truckers issued an alert last week urging their drivers already en route to South Sudan to refrain from going into South Sudan without being provided with armed escorts.
The fears are not far-fetched.
Recent attacks by unknown gunmen on the two highways linking South Sudan to Uganda, on the one hand, and linking South Sudan to Kenya, on the other, have led to four drivers being killed and dozens of passengers abducted.
“The current stand-off of transporters at Elegu border of Uganda is of great concern to the Chamber of Commerce because it will lead to a shortage of products and may hike the prices of commodities in our markets,” said Salwa Bakony Monytuel, the deputy chairperson of the country’s National Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture.
“We are calling on the government to deploy organ forces along roads in order to allow free movement of people and goods along the borders,” she added.
Monytuel also urged the South Sudanese government to urgently track down, arrest, and hold the perpetrators of recent attacks accountable for their crimes.