The Ugandan government has reached an agreement with their counterparts from South Sudan for the latter’s army to escort convoys of Ugandan traders to Juba after the recent deadly attacks by gunmen that left over 10 dead.
According to the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem, there has been an engagement with his counterpart from South Sudan over the matter and an agreement has been reached.
“I talked to the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs of South Sudan and we have agreed that the South Sudanese government should make arrangements to escort our trucks from Elegu to Juba and from Juba to Elegu until such a time when the South Sudan army has totally dealt with the rebels that keep ambushing our merchants and vehicles on that route,”Oryem told the Nile Post in a phone interview on Wednesday morning.
He insisted that it was agreed during the engagement that this starts immediately and will only end when the route from Elegu to Juba has been secured.
“Our travel advisory to Ugandans is that they should be cautious at the moment and wait for the road to be cleared by the South Sudanese army to allow them travel safely to Juba.”
Since last month, incidents of gunmen ambushing tracks and traders on the Elegu-Juba road have increased.
On March 30, at least 10 people, five of the them Ugandans were killed during an ambush by unknown gunmen at Ganji along the Juba-Yei road whereas on April, 1, five people were ambushed and burnt to death inside their trucks by unknown gunmen on the Juba-Nimule road.
On April, 4, three trucks were ambushed by gunmen and eight traders were shot dead between Ganti and Kulipa on the Yei-Juba road inside South Sudan.
The Ugandan government recently raised deep concerns with their counterparts from South Sudan over the deadly attacks.
“The government of Uganda with deep shock and concern learnt of the killing of Ugandans in the Republic of South Sudan. The government of Uganda condemns in the strongest terms possible the reckless murder of Ugandans,” a statement by government last week read in part.
The South Sudan army has blamed the attacks on the National Salvation Front (NAS) rebels after having allegedly carried out similar attacks on the same road in the past.
The South Sudan army deputy spokesperson recently told the Voice of America that the rebel group has violated the cessation of hostilities agreement the group signed with the government recently.