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Civil society accuses security agents of smuggling

By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon

A youth coalition organization has blamed the security organs from both South Sudan and Uganda for the smuggling of people along the border points despite lockdown on the two borders.

The youth coalition revealed that it had recorded numerous incidences where people have been smuggled into Nimule and other entry points within South Sudan without screening.

A reliable source told Juba Monitor from Nimule yesterday that an individual was charged 30,000 Ugandan shillings, an equivalent of 3,500 SSP to cross to Ugandan side for leisure.

While addressing the press yesterday, Peter Malir Biar, Executive Director of Christian Agency for Peace and Development, also the Deputy of the Youth Organizations coalition said that Ugandan border through Nimule was posting more threats in spreading COVID-19 if people were not serious.

“This is because of growing smuggling through bribery and tipping by those who want to come in illegally,” he said.

Augustino Deng Alier, Coordinator of the Youth led Organizations said that the key security personnel were responsible for such happening.

“Basically, the smuggling going on at the borders is being done by both governments in Nimule and Elegu. This is because if someone is coming from Elegu then it means the security within Elegu area are involved as well as security in Nimule. If not so, how do they come? He asked.

According to Alier, the communities were hosting huge number of people who just returned from Uganda even after the deadly pandemic was confirmed over there.

Alier added that Ngomoromo border in Eastern Equatoria State had also received people smuggled into Torit for the last two days.

Lumanyika Mutebi Sam, Acting Chairperson of Ugandan Community in South Sudan admitted that some of their nationals were still coming to Juba despite border closure.

“It is happening and I am the one who reported it yesterday (Tuesday). Some people normally come and when they reach the border, they normally claim to be the owners of the goods, yet the President’s order was only to allow driver and assistant driver,” he explained.

He accused the drivers for usually putting more people who later claim to be the owners of the commodities.

“We have some cases and supposed, we are requesting that if we have some testing centers in Juba then we are ready to pick those people who have just come. We know where they are. We can just pick them and bring them, perhaps they are willing to come and get tested,” he said.

Namulondo Julie Joyce, Secretary for Security National Council for Ugandan Community in South Sudan said that the people who normally come do not test for COVID-19 pandemic while coming.

According to her, she obtained the information after doing research on this happening.

Joyce said that she was worried that such people can contaminate the country if they were infected.

“It is a challenge to say that these people were still coming into South Sudan despite the orders. So we worried because those who could come are not tested. They are not followed. If the driver of the goods may be from Nairobi and he is victim then how will he/she be known?” she asked.

She requested the authorities to always remain vigilant and observe the number of people who normally enter the country on daily basis.

“They should be tested first and then allowed. And then let the communication unit in Nimule communicate with Nesitu on the number of people allowed per a day,” she said.

Attempts to reach the South Sudan National police spokesperson Maj. Gen. Daniel Justin on this matter were not immediately successful as many calls went unanswered.

The coalition asked the High Level Taskforce on COVID-19 to ensure maximum orders to control such happening and prioritize on supervision at key entry points to South Sudan.

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