By Deng Ghai Deng
Authorities in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area said the main market in the area has run out of stock after traders stopped transporting goods due to the insecurity along the road from Juba.
Jay Adingora Alual, the Information Minister of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area, said several fatal road ambushes and raids on trucks have forced traders to stop using the road from Juba because the main market in Pibor has run out of goods and prices are shooting up.
“Juba-Pibor road, the route traders use to supply the Pibor market, is no longer accessible because of insecurity. The traders are running out of stocks because there are no goods that are coming . The only means where food commodities can be transported to Pibor is only through air and doing that is very expensive and most of our traders cannot afford it. So that is the reason why there are no stocks in the market.” Alual said
Alual appealed to the National government in Juba to provide a military escort for travelers and traders plying the road. Alual added that “There are many means of solving this issue; 1. is to escort the traders because that is the urgent one because people are running out of stocks in the market in Pibor so, there is a need to escort the traders and that should be done by the government. Number 2. there is also a need for peace dialogue especially between the people of Bor and the people of Greater Pibor. Since that day when 7 traders were killed in Bor, there has been no communications between the two communities and that is why these things are escalating.”
In the past, youth from Bor and Akobo counties have been repeatedly accused of carrying out attacks in Pibor but Yuot Alier Hok, the Bor County commissioner, said that he and state authorities were not aware of the attacks and the closure of the Juba-Pibor road.
“We are not informed and even the accusations labeled, we have not even heard it. I just got it from the radio now. I think the best way to go about it is for the government of Pibor and any of the counties making accusations to first inform us that the road has been closed and it’s been closed by your people. So, that we see the way forward and so that we take charge to find out exactly who is closing that road; is it our people or other criminals.” Hok said
Commissioner Hok said peace is the only way the communities of Pibor and Jonglei state could move forward. He said the Bor community is ready for talks.
“We have been hosting a number of peace conferences and we agreed that peace is the only way forward. We are committed as part of Bor County to the peace though there is interruption in peace. We are not giving up on peace; we are still hoping that this peace must prevail between Pibor Administrative Area, Jonglei and Bor County in particular.” Hok added
Daniel Justin, the spokesperson of the South Sudan National Police Service, said the office of the Inspector General of Police was aware of the insecurity along the Juba-Pibor road. Justin said preparations are underway to assign police to provide security for travelers after discussions with the officials from Greater Pibor.
“The day before yesterday the chief administrator [of Greater Pibor Administrative Area] came to the office of Inspector General for a meeting in regard to this issue. The IGP has agreed that he will consult with the other organized forces such that an escort is arranged to escort vehicles to the Pibor Area. Now we have a team who is going to check the road up to a place in the middle there. The team will be going today and for maybe 1 or 2 days we are sure the escort will be there with the traders and their goods.” Justin said.
Last month, the authorities in Pibor reported that at least three cattle traders were killed and several others wounded when unidentified armed assailants ambushed a group of traders who were traveling from Pibor to Juba at a place called Jabor between Mogiri and Mangalla of Juba County.