By Alex Lotiyu Elia Lado
Ever since Juba had become the official capital city of the then Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) in 2005, the issue of night robbery has been government’s most serious concern. Throughout these years Juba residents have suffered because of night robberies and its devastating impacts.
Even though most of those robberies were perpetrated by mere locals and foreigners living in Juba, the recent night robberies have taken a different trend. The city has of late witnessed rampant night robberies and killings carried out by people who are often suspected to be dressing like organised forces.
This unfortunate situation caused heated economic and political debate amongst the public as well as in the corridors of the people in power largely because of its peculiar nature and the cruelty of their perpetrators.
Policemen are supposed to protect the citizens, but not the opposite. The concerned authorities have made countless promises to wipe out night robberies and crimes happening in the city, but this has not happened, only little stride was made which has no impact and this might be an accurate description of this situation.
Such empty promises to halt these crimes have eroded the sacred attachment and confidence of Juba residents to the authorities, in particular the police. In exchange, night robbery and aimless killing continue to breed.
This is why most residents of different suburbs in Juba city such as; Gudele-1, Kator, and Atlabara have established ‘neighbourhood watch committees’ to conduct night patrols since the police are either overwhelmed or have no resources to curb the activities of the robbers who loot and kill people at night.
Unfortunately, their efforts are insufficient to detour such crimes given the fact that most of the culprits are either active members of the organised forces, or are civilians and foreigners. One surprising thing is that they are well-armed more than the members of the said committees.
One might plausibly ask what causes the escalation of these crimes. What explains the actions of some policemen to steal and kill the citizens? Studies across countries show direct correlation between poverty, civil war, economic conditions, and robberies undertaken by organised forces. Even in South Sudan sociologists link the latest night robberies with our fragile situation such as; poverty, economic crisis, and the conflict.
The delay in payment of government employees’ salaries and the high rate of poverty amongst other economic factors produce evidence that could explain the actions of the police to night robberies and the related crimes.
Therefore, the Ministry of Interior and other concerned authorities in Jubek State are advised to abandon to rid of such crimes in Juba city. New approaches ought to be designed–including investigations to help look into the reasons that influence some members of the organised forces to get involved into night robbery.
The concerned authorities should benefit from its counterparts in the region who might have experienced similar realities in their countries-transition. Likewise, the entire public is urged to continue supporting the government in its endeavor to put an end to such phenomenon.
The writer is a lecturer at Upper Nile University and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0955450033