Some of the trucks parked at Elegu border in Amuru District on Monday. PHOTO/COURTESY

Business at Elegu border point was paralysed on Monday after more than 300 truck drivers, who ply the Juba-Nimule highway in South Sudan parked their heavy duty vehicles, protesting the killing of their colleagues by militants.

Haron Abdulahi Ore and Issa Salad, both Kenyans, were killed by militiamen on Sunday as they transported merchandise to Juba.

Sudi Mwatela Kauli, the chairperson of the Long-Distance Truck Drivers Association, said the incident happened at around 5pm on Sunday at Nesitu, Jubek county in the Central Equatorial State, about 120 kilometers to Nimule border along the Juba-Nimule highway.

Fifteen other truck drivers of different nationalities are also feared kidnapped by suspected South Sudanese gunmen since they have been missing since Sunday.

Yusuf Musibi, a long-distance truck driver, said the deceased truckers were part of 46 truckers destined for Juba on the fateful evening.

Musibi noted that the whereabouts of fifteen other truckers of different nationalities is still unclear because they have not shown up where they often converge in Juba.

The truckers have since reported cases of missing persons at Elegu police station.

Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner, said that the bodies and vehicles of the deceased truckers were still in South Sudan by the time of filing this story. He noted that it is still unclear which group attacked the truckers.

Oceng said that his office was yet to write to the Ministry of Internal Affairs about the matter. Sudi Mwatela Kauli, the Long-Distance Truck Drivers Association chairperson says that South Sudan promised them security and patrol, which only lasted for a week. He noted that all the long-distance truck drivers destined to South Sudan have since Monday parked their vehicles until the matter is fully resolved.

Zedi Male, the Vice-Chairperson Long Distance Truck Drivers Association at Elegu border, said they are wondering why the shootings took place next to a military detachment. This is the fourth time truckers are being shot in the same area within a space of five weeks.

David Ongom Mudong, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson has urged Ugandans to be extra vigilant about the current security situation in South Sudan especially along the routes.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (R) and Vice President Dr Riek Machar. The clashes erupted after Dr Machar’s rivals declared that they had deposed him as the head of the South Sudan Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO).

The ambushes have been precipitated by a breakdown in relations within the South Sudan Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO).

In April this year, truck drivers staged a protest at Elegu border point following the shooting of their colleagues and extortion by suspected South Sudanese along the Nimule-Juba highway.

Elements inside the rival faction of First Lt Gen Simon Gatwech Dual said they would carry out ambushes on the Juba-Nimule route if South Sudan Vice President Dr Riek Machar continued to cling onto power.

The clashes erupted after Dr Machar’s rivals declared that they had deposed him as the head of the party and its military forces. Lives were lost and hundreds injured. President Salva Kiir later held meetings with the leaders of the factions and ordered them to cease hostilities.