Sunday, 18 August 2013

South Sudan; A death trap for Ugandan traders

A street in Juba. Despite the country's promising business opportunities
A street in Juba. Despite the country’s promising business opportunities, harrassment, breach of contract and loss of life continues to be story of Ugandan traders

More bad news continues to emerge from South Sudan, a country Uganda provided refuge to its people during the more than 20 years of conflict with the North that resulted in her birth. 
The country that gained independence in July 9 2011,  became a destination for many a trader who wanted to cash in on her economical potential as a virgin market. However, recent maltreatment of Ugandan traders is not encouraging as harassment, breach of contract and loss of life seem to be the order of the day.
Another Ugandan, Senuni Yarsin was on Tuesday August 15 killed in Jonglei along Juba-Bor road at 4.00pm. His death is part of a somewhat ongoing ‘tragic’ script about the suffering Ugandan traders have suffered at the hands of their Northern neighbors in recent times.
The deceased, a 21 year old turn boy and his driver, Bossa were hired by an Eritrean trader to transport Wheat floor from Kampala to Bor.
Their truck broke down a long the way to Bor from Juba where they spent 2 days while waiting for a mechanic to travel with spare parts from Kampala to fix the problem.
On the third day of waiting, a drunken armed SPLA soldier came staggering towards them, greeted them and walked away. After moving for about 20 meters away from them he suddenly stopped and stepped back, fired 2 bullets in the air and came back. He asked for money from Yarsin, who was by then preparing a meal besides the truck; while the driver hid behind the truck. Yarsin pleaded with the guy to allow him pick the money from his bag in the truck; but as he climbed the truck to pick money from his bag, the guy fired two bullets at him killing him instantly.
The driver having witnessed what happened to his colleague ran away for his dear life towards the barracks.
Meanwhile, the murderer stopped another on coming truck, robbed the passengers and deflated the front tyres with his gun.
The Ugandan community Thursday morning was planning a demonstration to protest over the rampant murder of their countrymen.
The Police on the other hand are demanding for money to allow the post-mortem to be done and for a letter to allow the body to be transported to Uganda.
Both the driver and the deceased come from Wakiso district, central Uganda.
There have been reported cases of killings, torture, arbitrary arrests by South Sudan against Ugandan traders.
In June this year, the government of South Sudan apologised to the Ugandan business community in Juba over claims that the traders have been target for mistreatment and harassment by the South Sudanese.
The killing of Senuni shows that unless the Juba administration moves from mere apologies to putting punitive measures in place, South Sudan will continue to be a death trap for innocent Ugandans whose only crime is to exploit the country’s economic potential.