The Citizen (Juba)

26 February 2012

Uganda: Custom Officers in Nimule Links Uganda Minister to Border Closure

Juba — The document obtained by The Citizen newspaper alleged the Uganda minister of Trade and Investment Amelia to have a link to this week strike by drivers which resulted to border closure. The letter stated that the minister pay a visit to the ground, held series of meetings with drivers and authorities including Bibia Division commandeer in Elegu station day before the strikes started. Reports said during the same evening of meeting all the East Africans drivers agreed to stage a demonstration which the police captain cautioned the drivers to assure him of knowledge before strikes blocking the border started. Drivers from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Somalia protested on the 21st of this month due multiple charges taxes imposed on them along Nimule-Juba road and claimed mistreatment by the police, delaying in clearing taxes in addiction to multiple taxes across South Sudan. The striking drivers Thursday called off strikes after they were promised by two governments to resolve their grievances to end the cause of strike and keep border open. Lt.Col Aduot Ajang, South Sudan custom officer in Nimule quoted the Uganda minister on national TV, NTV on 23 rd January to back up claim of link to driver strike closing the border as saying "If the government of South Sudan does not stop harassment/mistreatment to their people then they are going to close the border.. South Sudan Customs authorities at the border said the decision for border closure was not by co-incidence but it was something the Uganda authorities were a ware of. Custom officer added that the Uganda trade minister visits to Juba with Cabinet minister proved to them that there was hidden agenda in decision closing the border. According to the letter, the meeting between the two countries delegation recommended provision of high way patrol, unification of taxes. The Ugandan authorities were not successful to reach for comment to the allegation of linked to drivers striking closing the border for three days.

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