South Sudan Ambushes Targeted Ethnic Dinka

2064 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Speaking exclusively to Uganda Radio Network, the sources said the attackers torched the Eco Bus because it reportedly belonged to individuals linked to the Juba regime and spared the Gateway and Friendship buses which are owned by Ugandans.

The Monday morning ambushes on three buses in South Sudan was most likely a carefully planned handiwork of forces opposed to the government of President Salva Kiir.
 
Unidentified gunmen in the wee hours of Monday waylaid three Uganda-bound buses just 30 kilometres from South Sudan capital, Juba.
 
The buses are Eco Bus, which was hit with a Rocket-Propelled Grenade after the passengers were forcefully removed, Gateway Bus and Friendship Bus.
 
They robbed the passengers of their valuables and spirited away goods particularly foodstuffs.
 
Sources, which preferred anonymity, say the attackers, after robbing the passengers, weeded out mainly Dinkas and whisked them deeper into the jungles.
 
Other South Sudanese nationals as well as Ugandans were released and told to find their way to the Juba-Nimule Road.
 
Dinka is the largest ethnic group in South Sudan to which President Salva Kiir as well as many top military and government officials belong.
 
The Kiir government is viewed by many South Sudanese as dominated by ethnic Dinka at their expense. The war in South Sudan has since taken an ethnic dimension with other ethnic groups ganging up against the Dinka.
 
That has also greatly contributed to the influx of hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees into Uganda in recent weeks. According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, at least 660,000 South Sudan refugees are in different camps in Uganda. Most of the refugees are non-Dinka fleeing reprisal attacks from the government forces dominated by the Dinka.
 
Speaking exclusively to Uganda Radio Network, the sources said the attackers torched the Eco Bus because it reportedly belonged to individuals linked to the Juba regime and spared the Gateway and Friendship buses which are owned by Ugandans.
 
The sources say the attack was symbolic of the trend and nature the conflict in South Sudan is taking.
 
Apart from those abducted and a few who sustained some minor injuries, most of the passengers have since found their way back to Uganda.
 
Thomson Asiku, a booking clerk for Friendship and other buses, told URN that the gunmen could not have looted much money because most Juba traders now use banks or mobile money to wire their monies.
 
Asiku says despite the ambushes there has been no drop in passenger bookings on buses to Juba as well as loading of cargo.  
 
//Cue in: "Ahh it has …
Cue out: … booking normally."//
 
Asked why many a Ugandan trader is not scared venturing into South Sudan, Asiku says for many South Sudan is their only source of livelihood and not going there is a matter of life and death.
 
//Cue in: "Yeah, you know …
Cue out: … the insurgency."//

Meanwhile South Sudanese radio based in Europe, Radio Tamazuj, is reporting that on Monday at least 10 civilians including soldiers have been killed and three others, including a commissioner, injured in an ambush by gunmen along the Torit-Lafon road in South Sudan's Imatong State.

The gunmen targeted a convoy that was ferrying salaries for civil servants. They escaped with their loot.

The Monday incident came hard on the heels of yet another ambush over the weekend on Yei-Juba Road in which an estimated 30 people were killed and 20 others injured. The victims reportedly included women and children.
 
***

 

About the author

David Rupiny
In his own words, David Rupiny says, "I am literally a self-trained journalist with over 12 years of experience. Add the formative, student days then I can trace my journalism roots to 1988 when as a fresher in Ordinary Level I used to report for The Giraffe News at St Aloysius College Nyapea in northern Uganda.


In addition to URN for which I have worked for five years now, I have had stints at Radio Paidha, Radio Pacis, Nile FM and KFM. I have also contributed stories for The Crusader, The New Vision and The Monitor. I have also been a contributor for international news organisations like the BBC and Institute for War and Peace Reporting. I am also a local stringer for Radio Netherlands Worldwide.


I am also a media entrepreneur. I founded The West Niler newspaper and now runs Rainbow Media Corporation (Rainbow Radio 88.2 FM in Nebbi). My areas of interest are conflict and peacebuilding, business, climate change, health and children and young people, among others."