Scores of Ugandan nationals are feared to have been killed while others abducted following an ambush on three Ugandan buses along Nimule-Juba Highway in South Sudan by unknown gunmen on Monday morning.
According to information we have obtained, the buses attacked are Echo Bus, Gateway bus and Friendship Bus Company that were travelling from Juba city to Kampala in Uganda.
The incident reportedly happened at Jebelen in Eastern Equatoria state, some 120 kilometers from the Ugandan border side of Elegu in Amuru District.
Maj Caesar Olweny, the Fourth Division Spokesperson confirmed reports of the attack to Daily Monitor in a telephone interview on Monday.
He said reports they received from security counterparts in South Sudan indicates that the gunmen first shot and burnt down Eco Bus before the others also entered the same ambush.
“It’s true that three Ugandan buses travelling from Juba to Kampala were ambushed this morning. We are yet to establish reports on what exactly happened as information are still scanty,” Maj Olweny said.
He noted that the passengers in all the buses were robbed of their valuables before being left adding that there are reports of others who have been abducted.
By press time, Maj Olweny said some of the passengers who were abandoned by the gunmen are being escorted by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army [SPLA] to Ugandan border side aboard Friendship and Gateway Buses.
Mr Katongole Ben, the Booking clerk for Eco Bus in Gulu Municipality District confirmed in a telephone interview that their bus was indeed attacked.
He however said reports they got indicate that the 51 seater bus, was shot at with a Rocket propelled Grenade [RPG] allaying fears that most of the passengers are feared to have been injured or killed.
Many vehicles traversing through the Nimule- Juba Highway, a major road that connects the war torn South Sudan have come under attacks by unknown gunmen manning the area.
Political turmoil that broke out between the soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar in July this year has seen many attacks on Ugandan bound buses along the Nimule Juba highway.
Earlier in the same month, Ugandan government evacuated thousands of its citizens who were trapped in the conflict for safety.
Despite a warning by the Ugandan government over insecurity in South Sudan, majority of the people mostly traders have travelled back.
Past attacks on Ugandan buses
Early last month, unknown gunmen ambushed Friendship bus registration UAM 126V along between Moli and Kerepi in Magwi county killing one person while two others sustained injuries.