28th February 2021
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Traffic police officers return to ‘terrorize’ Juba motorists

Authors: Alhadi Hawari | Emmanuel Joseph Akile | Published: Friday, January 22, 2021

South Sudan Traffic Police officers seen counting money collected from motorists in Juba in 2019 | Credit | Courtesy

Some motorists have raised concerns over what they called ‘continued harassment’ by traffic police officers in the capital, Juba.

Majority of the motorists in Juba say traffic police officers from the national and Central Equatoria state have “descended hard” on them along the main roads of the city.

“If you are driving from Gudele to Juba town, they can stop you 5 times,” said one private vehicle motorist.

Traffic police can be seen cracking down on vehicles with tinted windows in an attempt to “fight crimes” and stop motorists from “carrying other people’s wives and daughters”.

Activists and motorists, however, have been saying that the crackdown is a business scheme the traffic department uses to collect money

Other grievances raised by the motorists include constant harassment over logbooks and tinted windows.

Some motorists who spoke to Eye Radio, Wednesday, also questioned the responsibility and mandate of both the national and Central Equatoria state traffic police.

“As a citizen, I have the right to ask…all over the world, for any offence, they [traffic officers] will give you a receipt for payment and then you can go. But what we have seen here is different.”

On 14 June 2019, the minister of information announced that motorists using vehicles with factory tints were exempted from the order that had earlier banned them.

In April last year, the parliament summoned the Minister of Interior, Paul Mayom, to appear before the parliamentary defense committee over harassment of motorists by the traffic police.

Responding to these recent complaints, the director of traffic police admitted that the flow of traffic in the city is under the control of the national traffic police department, not just officers from the Central Equatoria state

“Central Equatoria state is under the national government and the officers working there are ours,” Maj.-Gen Kon John Akot affirmed.

He, however, denied knowledge of the ongoing harassments.

“Our traffic officers are not harassing motorists, but rather they are doing their jobs. If there are people who harass motorists, we will deal with them,” he told Eye Radio.

In July 2019, the traffic police department detained 85 police officers over abuses against motorists in Juba.

The director-general of traffic police, Maj.-Gen. Akot revealed that his office discovered that some of the officers in custody were found criminals who had been masquerading as traffic cops.

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