Gunmen kill 4 Ugandan drivers on transit to South Sudan

Tuesday March 30 2021
By Felix Warom Okello

KOBOKO-  Four Ugandan drivers have been shot dead by unknown gunmen on Yei-Juba highway while heading to Juba for business.
The incident occurred on Sunday evening between Ganji (Lanya County),  65kms  to Juba and Kullipa,  which is 58kms to Juba on Yei-Juba road in South Sudan.

Those confirmed dead are Stephen Amati, Dada Abugo, Ali Sonny and Sadam Noah.

 The Koboko Resident District Commissioner, Mr Sazir Mayanja, said the drivers landed in an ambush.

 “I can confirm that four people who were heading to Juba from Koboko District were gunned down and their bodies are at Ganji. At least 13 people who were passengers have been rescued and all are under the government of South Sudan,” he said.

Mr Mayanja said they are coordinating with authorities of Yei in South Sudan to rescue those who were abducted.
It is not yet clear which armed group killed and abducted some of the passengers. 

Efforts for peace
 In June 2013, the former Inspector of General of Police for South Sudan, Gen Pieng Kuol, and former Inspector General of Police for Uganda Kale Kayihura signed a bilateral agreement in Arua to carry out joint patrols at the border to ensure that businessmen are safeguarded to promote cross-border trade.


The Oraba-Kaya-Yei-Juba road had become dormant after several attacks on businessmen plying the route, especially during the second outbreak of the war in South Sudan.

South Sudan had turned a lucrative place for business that attracted businessmen from Ethiopia, Uganda, Eritrea, Kenya and DR Congo after signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.

 But the business was dented by insecurity that cropped in South Sudan and led to attacks on foreign traders who were accused by locals of hijacking their businesses. 

 But during a cross border meeting early this month, Mr Emmanuel Adil, the governor for Central Equatoria state, said the absence of the local government structure on the South Sudan side has hindered their relations with Uganda.

 “The border clashes, land and border disputes, illegal logging trade, high rate of smuggling that happens along the borders are derailing our progress. We need to identify those weak points and spoilers of our good reputations so that the resolutions that we have already made during our meetings in Koboko and Yei are implemented,” he said.

 By the time of filing this report, efforts to get comments from River Yei County Commissioner proved futile as his phones could not go through.

 Past attacks
In 2009, an Eritrean driver and a Ugandan were hacked to death in Kaya in South Sudan.
In 2009, armed Sudanese gunmen raided more than 500 head of cattle twice in Adjumani District
In 2011, two Ugandan casual labourers were in June severely tortured by Sudanese soldiers over theft.

In 2012, two Ugandan traders were shot dead by unknown assailants
In March 2021, three Ugandans and five South Sudan fishermen were killed by unknown gunmen from South Sudan in Moyo District.