Gulu — One person has died, four critically injured while two are still missing after a passenger bus that was heading for Kampala from Juba in South Sudan was ambushed by suspected Sudanese rebels on Sunday.
The bus registration UAM 126V belonging to Friendship Bus Company was ambushed on the Nimule-Juba Highway between Moli and Kerepi villages, Magwi County, Eastern Equatorial State.
Witnesses say, the bus was carrying 11 passengers by the time of the attack.
The deceased has been identified only as Collins, a Kenyan national who died on the way to Juba where he was being transported to get medical attention.
Those injured are Ms Eveline Kisembo, a Ugandan who was shot in the head, one unidentified South Sudan national and an unidentified Ugandan national. They are receiving treatment at unknown medical facility in Juba.
Another Ugandan, Ms Mercy Awori, a resident of Tororo District was taken to an unidentified health unit in Adjumani Dstrict.
Daily Monitor has reliably learnt that the driver of the ill-fated bus and one passenger whose identity has not yet been established were reportedly abducted by the gunmen.
Their whereabouts are still unknown.
Fourth Division Army Commander Brig Muhanga Kayanja confirmed the attack.
"Some of the injured have been rushed to Juba city for medical attention while others were rescued and driven across into Ugandan territory," Brig Kayanja said.
He said they have received intelligence reports to the effect that the unknown gunmen belong to the former vice president of South Sudan, Dr Riek Machar who are re-entering eastern Equatorial State.
Brig Kayanja said the rebel group is commanded by Brig Martin Kenyi, a former soldier in the Sudan's People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
Brig Kayanja urged Ugandans to be vigilant while travelling to South Sudan arguing that despite travels that have resumed on the Nimule-Juba Highway, security in the region is still volatile.
"As UPDF, the only thing we can do is to reach out to SPLA officials to ensure they upgrade their capacity in terms of manning the Nimule-Juba Highway that is a transport corridor for many nationals," Brig Kayanja said.
The attack comes barely two months after Ugandan government evacuated over 36,000 people from South Sudan.
The majority of the evacuees were Ugandans who had been trapped in renewed fights between loyalists of President Salva Kiir and Dr Machar in July.
Ugandan government warned its citizens against travelling to South Sudan owing to the prevailing insecurity.