Kenyan truck drivers have stopped transporting cargo to South Sudan after two drivers were killed just 45 kilometers from Juba on Sunday evening.
Five trucks were attacked by strangers around 5:30 p.m. and two Kenyans were killed, while the drivers of three other trucks had to flee for their lives.
The group said the constant attacks on their drivers and the vandalism of their trucks are taking their toll as many people have died and members have also lost their vehicles and goods.
Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) chairman of the board, Dennis Ombok, said two Kenyans and a Ugandan driver had not been located until Monday morning. But their trucks were vandalized, he added.
On Monday, KTA chairman Newton Wang’oo issued a statement in which he advised his more than 5,000 members not to transport any more cargo to South Sudan due to the uncertainty.
“After the increasing lawlessness and insecurity along the Nimule-Juba Highway, in which several drivers were killed and trucks were either burned or destroyed, we advise all transportation companies not to risk the lives of their drivers and their trucks by continuing to provide transportation services in offer South Sudan as the country is still very volatile, “the statement said.
Mr Wang’oo urged those already on the way to deliver the goods to the customs yard on the Elegu border and urged the South Sudanese government to take immediate action to protect drivers already in that country.
He also called on Juba to compensate for the lives and possessions lost in the recent attacks.
A month ago, KTA raised concerns after a Kenyan driver was killed by armed men on the way to Juba.
There are more and more attacks along the autobahn, and this year the KTA is discontinuing its service for the second time due to uncertainty.
The port of Mombasa has remained the most important port in South Sudan. The data from the Kenya Ports Authority shows that it ranks second in terms of the volume of cargo it imports into Uganda via the port.
In October last year, armed men demanded thousands of dollars in ransom after kidnapping two Ugandan drivers and killing two others along Juba-Nimule Road. In May, three Ugandan drivers were killed along the Juba-Kaya Highway.
Truck drivers stopped moving goods to South Sudan in April as crime increased along the Yei-Juba route, which killed two Kenyans and set their trucks on fire.
KTA resumed the transport of cargo after the governments of Kenya and South Sudan had assured them of their safety.
The Ugandan embassy warned foreign drivers entering South Sudan. However, after numerous negotiations between the Kenyan, Ugandan and South Sudanese authorities, they agreed that the drivers would be escorted by South Sudanese soldiers to ensure their safety.
An agreement was reached on a huge accumulation of goods on the border of Elegu while goods in Juba were sold out.
Last week, two Catholic priests and three other travelers died in an attack on a car on the Juba-Nimule motorway.