By Deng Machol
Juba – The South Sudan National Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (SSNCIA) is begging the East Africa Community (EAC) traders to lift suspensions and allow trucks and cargos to travel to South Sudan amid price skyrocketing in the market..
Kenyan and Ugandan transporters suspended or stopped sending cargos or trucks to South Sudan to protest killings and a soaring insecurity along major highways.
Last week, at least 10 people, including Kenyan and Ugandan traders were ambushed, killed and their vehicles burnt in three separate attacks along the Juba – Nimule and Juba – Yei roads by unknown gunmen.
The Chamber said is deeply dismayed, saddened and shocked with the killing of Kenyan and Ugandan traders by armed men.
In the press conference on Monday, Salwa Bakony Monytuil, Deputy Chairperson condemned in the strongest term possible the killing which targeted the innocent foreign traders and therefore call on the Transitional Government of South Sudan to immediate act to apprehend the culprits.
As the business community, also extended their heartfelt condolences to the families of Ugandan and Kenyan nationals who lost their lives and properties in the recently separate attack in South Sudan.
“The Chamber of Commerce ensures of its diligence and obligation to work closely with the government to address these shameful killing being committed by the armed men along the highways to enable safe and free movement of the traders across the country,” said Salwa. The Chamber and government are working to find amicable solution, we urge our Partners in the private sector in the EAC to allow the flow of goods and services to South Sudan while the security concern for the safety of drivers and Properties are addressing.”
Thee Ugandan and Kenyan cargo transporters say they will not send trucks into South Sudan over the heightened insecurity.
“We have not yet got the solution from the two governments,” said William Basuulwa-the Chairperson of Uganda National Transport Alliance, quoted by Eye radio. “As of now, we have stopped loading any cargo going to South Sudan. Those who have already loaded, let them put the cargo at the border.”
Over 2000 trucks or cargos are reportedly grounded at Elegu border of Uganda.
“The current standoff of the transporters at Elegu Border of Uganda is of a great concern to the Chamber of Commerce because it will lead to products shortage and may hike the prices of commodities in our markets,” said Salwa.
The Deputy Chairperson said “We therefore urged our government to urgently intervene to address the Insecurity along the major roads in the country. As a representative of the private sector, we are committed to partner with the government to address the current standoff at Elegu Border.”
Meanwhile, the Juba government says the recent attacks on vehicles along major highways are not targeted, adding they will investigate the incidents and security forces will be able to share information with their counterparts in Uganda and with Kenya.”
President Kiir’s administration blames the attacks on armed groups opposed to the transitional government but the National Salvation Front-NAS distanced itself from the violence, blaming criminals within the SSPDF for the attacks.