Nairobi/Juba – Kenya transporters have halted cargo transport to neighbouring South Sudan amid rising security concerns over the route to the capital Juba.
This development follows the torture and murder of two drivers whose trucks and cargo were vandalised near Juba on Sunday.
The truckers, through the Kenya Transporters Association (KTA), revealed that two Kenyans and a Ugandan driver who escaped the ambush had not been traced by Monday morning. Their trucks were also vandalised in the attack, the lobby said.
“Following increased lawlessness and insecurity along Juba-Nimule highway that has seen several drivers killed and trucks either burnt or vandalised, we wish to advise all transporters not to risk the lives of their drivers by continuing to offer transport services to South Sudan,” KTA chairman Newton Wang’oo said on Monday.
The association has since urged its more than 5,000 members to dump goods at the Uganda-South Sudan border until the situation gets better.
In the 5.30 am incident, reports indicate that up to five trucks were attacked by unknown people about 45 kilometres from Juba.
The attackers reportedly tortured the two Kenyans to death while drivers of three other trucks had to flee for their lives.
“The two killed were seriously tortured and their bodies are in bad shape,” KTA chief executive Dennis Ombok said.
This is not the first time truckers have been targeted in the troubled country.
Incidents of attacks along the highway have been rampant and this is the second time KTA is suspending transport services this year because of insecurity.
In April, truck drivers stopped ferrying goods to South Sudan due to growing insecurity along the Yei-Juba route where two Kenyans were killed and their trucks torched.
Three Ugandan drivers were also killed along the Juba-Kaya Highway in May.
KTA then resumed cargo services after the Kenya and South Sudan governments assured them of security.
In October last year, armed men demanded thousands of dollars as ransom after kidnapping two Uganda drivers and killing two others along Juba-Nimule Road.
The Ugandan government warned foreign drivers against entering South Sudan but later lifted the warning when an agreement was reached after a huge accumulation of goods at the Elegu border as goods ran out of stock in Juba.