16 Kenyan truck drivers killed in South Sudan’s capital of Juba

16 Kenyan truck drivers killed in South Sudan's capital of Juba

At least 16 Kenyan truck drivers and six others from Uganda are reported to have been killed in the recent violence in South Sudan. This according to the Secretary General of the Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers Union Nicholas Mbugua who said the drivers were shot dead in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, during the weekend fighting.

This has emerged even as calm returned to Juba, after President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar called for a cessation of hostilities. The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is now calling for an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan.

According to the Secretary General, the drivers were in a convoy from Juba when they were caught in the crossfire as forces loyal to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and those backing Vice President Riek Machar clashed at Jebel.

Mbugua said that he received the report from a truck driver who managed to escape.

After four days of heavy fighting, Juba registered a relative calm on Tuesday with no gunshots being heard but locals cautiously stepped out into the streets as President Kiir and Machar declared ceasefire.

According to South Sudan’s Ambassador to Kenya Chol Ajongo, a soldier allied to Machar triggered the fighting when he sought to access the venue of the meeting between the President and his Vice President on Friday.

The situation, he claimed, escalated after Machar’s spokesman alerted the army that Machar had been detained at State House.

But Machar’s camp had earlier expressed dissent, claiming that President Kiir was not serious with the peace agreement.

The international airport has now been re-opened with the fate of Kenyans in Juba uncertain even as locals claimed to have spotted armoured convoys of Ugandan troops crossing into South Sudan to evacuate Ugandan citizens by road.

Uganda has, however, closed its borders to non-residents fleeing South Sudan.

This comes even as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called for an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan, while seeking the fortification of the country’s UN mission.

Kenyan clearing agents at the port of Mombasa are calling for a speedy resolution for a conflict that has seen them incur heavy losses.

Over 272 people died after fighting broke out five days. Over 40,000 others are believed to have been displaced by the fighting.

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Story By Wilkister Nyabwa
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