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Over 500 passengers stranded in Nimule

Author: Garang Abraham | Published: Friday, March 6, 2020

PHOTO: Buses seen in Elegu/Nimule border post. Photo by Garang Abraham/Eye Radio. Mar 6, 2020

About 500 passengers are stranded at Elegu border post after Ugandan bus drivers refused to proceed to Juba following an assault on one of them by South Sudanese money changers in Nimule, our reporter has confirmed.

According to our reporter in Nimule, the bus drivers are protesting what they call harassment by some South Sudanese.

He says black-market money changers assaulted a driver of one of the buses.

This reportedly prompted all the bus drivers to return to Elegu in protest.

“One of the black market money dealers entered the bus and started asking people whether they had Ugandan currency so that he would change. So this made the bus conductors and the driver ask for money,” said Garang Abraham.

Garang stated that in the process the driver and conductors fought South Sudanese money dealers.

“This brought conflict between the two people and two black market dealers had to beat the driver of the trinity bus and injured his arm. The arm is broken and one of his ears is bleeding.”

He said the beating has forced other bus drivers to down tools.

“These buses owned by Ugandan companies had to drive back to the Ugandan border and currently, they are based there. It is not clear whether they will go to Juba. But according to my observation, more than 500 passengers have been affected,” he said.

“The only bus that is now at the Nimule border post is Eco bus which is believed to be owned by South Sudanese.”

Garang added that some stranded passengers have started boarding the Toyota NOAH passenger vehicles to proceed to Juba.

According to Odocke Richard, Trinity Company Bus conductor, a group of drivers from various bus companies staged a protest this morning after Trinity Company Bus driver was beaten by South Sudanese.

“This incident happened this morning when all buses were cleared by the two borders, at 8:30 am before setting off for Juba, one of our Trinity passengers had a quarrel with a money changer inside the bus when the driver intervened and stopped them from fighting, the two money changers turned to the driver and beat him up to an extern of breaking his right arm,” said Trinity Company Bus conductor.

“Now, we are on strike, we need the two authorities to take the injured driver for medication and tell us why South Sudan people treat us so badly?” Richard posed

For his part, Balenzi Richard – Uganda Police Officer in Charge Elegu Field Office said the two authorities held a meeting earlier this morning aimed at opening the two borders.

“We are saying as per now is let first handle the issue amiably and open the borders. The occurrence will be handled by authorities as we continued to meet,” said Richar Balenzi

Meanwhile, the head of South Sudan Immigration Office in Nimule border Col. Yor Mawien revealed that the two South Sudanese suspects that were involved in the incident were arrested and are undergoing investigations.

“What I can tell you is, the suspected black market money changers who beat up the Ugandan driver, especially the guy who broke his arm has been arrested and is under police investigations,” said Col Yor

According to Trinity Bus Company conductor Richard Docke, Mr. Gabulyeri Ngabirano – the injured Trinity driver has been transferred to St. Marys Hospital in Gulu for medication.

South Sudanese and Ugandan passengers mostly depend on Ugandan bus companies that transit between the two countries.

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