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Gunmen increase roadside attacks in South Sudan

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September 10, 2016 (JUBA)- Nearly a dozen people were killed on one of South Sudan’s most important roads Friday morning, when unknown gunmen opened fire on a bus and two other vehicles.

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General view of Juba Nimule road leading to Nimule Park and neighbouring Uganda (Pinterest photo)

The episode is the latest in a series of attacks on the highway connecting the South Sudan capital, Juba to neighbouring Uganda.

The mid-morning attack occurred in the Madi corridor area along Juba-Nimule high way, where dissident armed youth groups from the area believed to be allied to armed opposition leader and the former first vice president, Riek Machar have a strong presence.

According to traffic police officers and local area residents, the gunmen fired on a bus and two trucks, killing nine passengers.

“We have been talking about the need to increase the number of the forces along this road but nothing has been done so far. We decided to stop talking and just watch the events as they unfold because it is important to be heard than to keep talking without someone listening to you. It’s like you are making a noise to the people”, explained a customs officer who preferred anonymity.

He said armed activities have increased on the road, indicating the group involved in carrying out such acts are determined to affect the only road connecting the region.

“The way these activities have increased recently is like the group operating on this road is determined to engage in sabotage act. They are using military tactics and are also using modern weapons”, he added.

Increased roadside ambushes have reduced the number of commercial vehicles and travelers have long had to contend with multiple checkpoints and act of banditry. But last month’s killing of national security personnel on patrol have rattled travelers, with bus companies reporting that the number of passengers plying the Juba-Nimule road had dropped to about half of what it was in past years.

Barely three days before Friday’s attack on the same highway, two passenger buses traveling in opposite directions collided resulting in the loss of lives as their drivers as they avoided being attacked in areas marked as deadly for similar attacks on vehicles.

South Sudan police spokesperson, Daniel Justin confirmed on Saturday that eight passengers were shot dead on buses traveling between Juba and Nimule on Friday morning. The passengers died in four separate mini buses that were attacked.

In a related development two fuel tankers were set alight resulting into the burning one driver to death.

The country’s police and national security services have accused Madi tribal forces, under the command of Martin Kenyi, of allegedly carrying out these attacks. Kenyi is one of Machar’s commanders in area.

(ST)

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  • 11 September 00:01, by Paul

    Will Madi tribe handle this well when hell daunts on their peaceful villages? Madi elders need to hurriedly discourage their sons’ activities before hell is brought to their doors step. But then again, they might be innocent or aren’t they!

    repondre message

    • 11 September 06:49, by Eastern

      It is each tribe trying to assert its presence in South Sudan with the Dinka trying to assert itself at the helm. Paul, elders give advice in Dinka community only; other tribes don’t have to follow the advice of elders or generals.

      repondre message

      • 11 September 13:28, by Paul

        Well, what can I say? some people just don’t listen...so be it!

        repondre message

  • 11 September 08:23, by Force 1

    The time is coming soon when those villages with their rats who ambush innocent civilians to cleared and burned up like garbage. The Dinka who are being ambush and killed daily are not going to be nice for a very long time. Play with fire and you will end up being consumed by fire.

    repondre message

    • 12 September 10:46, by jubaone

      Paul,

      There no rats in those areas cos all have been eaten up by hungry jienge soldiers scavenging for food. What are present are only tailless monkeys and few ugly wild animals who look like human beings from somewhere near Bor or Warrap, something like that. So dont worry.

      repondre message

  • 11 September 15:55, by Hardlinner

    Where is UN and those who claimed to be civil society group to condemn the killing?. Killing of innocent civians whether in hand of security forces or rebels is the same. Since madi group do not want to work with government to reveal where about bandidts are, I believe government should send in 2000 soldiers to comb the area and terminate those criminals.

    repondre message

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