Travelling to South Sudan Still Not Safe - Govt

1253 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo told URN that Ugandans should not go to South Sudan at the moment as the situation is still volatile.

The Government has warned Ugandans to exercise extreme caution as they travel to South Sudan, stating that the place is not yet stable.
  
Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo told URN that Ugandans should not go to South Sudan at the moment as the situation is still volatile.
  
"Generally we do not encourage undocumented Ugandans travelling in South Sudan, because there are still arrangements to ensure total peace in that place."
  
Opondo says government cannot put any physical blockade to stop people from travelling as the people in South Sudan also need services. Many Ugandans have started heading back to South Sudan just after they were repatriated recently during the escalation of fighting.
  
Opondo says that Uganda is playing its part to ensure that the two warring parties negotiate and peace returns to South Sudan. He says they are also in talks with the Government of South Sudan to ensure that Ugandans are protected while there.
  
"The Ugandans who insist on travelling are told to make a calculated risk, they are being advised at the border and this will now be up to them to take on the advice," he says.
  
Police deputy spokesperson Polly Namaye told URN that although many of the buses started plying the routes earlier than expected, they should only travel if they must and avoid being trapped in Juba.
  
According to the figures from the Uganda Police Force, over 51,000 civilians were evacuated from South Sudan since fighting broke out between forces loyal to Sudan President Salva Kiir and first Vice President Riek Machar. Three hundred people were killed while 1.6 million are displaced by the fighting.
  
Geoffrey Were, a booking clerk at Arua Bus Park says that they had received communication through the media that Juba was safe. He says that the buses are only going because the travelers have also resumed their journeys.
  
Whereas the African Union and the United Nations are planning to deploy in South Sudan, the Government is conscious about having its sovereignty tempered with by the move to have additional forces.
  
Currently there are over 12,000 UN peace keepers in South Sudan.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.