Government not to blame for highway attacks – Makuei

Government not to blame for highway attacks – Makuei
Michael Makuei, Minister of Information briefing reporters on Friday in Juba (photo credit: Keji Janefer/City Review)

JUBA – Government spokesperson Michael Makuei has dismissed the statement by a Ugandan lawmaker that South Sudan is a “lawless nation” after a spate of attacks along Juba – Nimule Highway.

The MP was reacting to the continued killing along Juba-Nimule road during a parliamentary sitting last week in Kampala.

The unnamed lawmaker accused South Sudanese of killing Ugandans with impunity and that the country has no laws. He claimed that Juba was locked and nobody is allowed to leave the capital city.

“Right now we need an urgent strategy to rescue Ugandans who are in Juba,” the lawmaker said in a parliamentary session televised on YouTube.

In response, Makuei, who is also the Minister of Information, admitted it is the responsibility of the government to secure the roads but said any offense committed by criminals along the roads should not be blamed on the government.

He accused the international community of putting every blame of atrocities being committed by individuals on the government.

“When the LRA [Lord Resistance Army] was using padlocks to lock the mouths of people, did we accuse the government of Uganda of having failed to protect citizens,” Makuei said.

Not government

Makuei said the recent incidents along Juba-Nimule road are actions of the rebels and that they are uncontrollable.

“The only way is to protect the roads but there is no way we would say any offense committed by any criminal or any outlawed group then the government must be answerable: that is not true,” he said.

“When the LRA was here they knew what they were doing with the citizens of Uganda and was the government held accountable?’’ Makuei asked.

He said there was a big problem with the international community saying those lawmakers did not know what they are saying.

The Ugandan lawmaker called on their government to lay a rescue strategy for Ugandans who are residing in South Sudan, particularly those in Juba.

The country is still reeling from last month’s highway attacks staged by unknown highway bandits along Nimule- Juba road.

Two Catholic nuns were brutally murdered in one of the ambushes when the criminals intercepted a convoy of vehicles ferrying pilgrims from Loa Parish.

Several other pilgrims escaped and were later found. A speeding truck evading ambush also knocked a boda boda rider dead during the incident.

The attack came just days after two people—among them a 20-year-old man and a teenage girl— were shot dead along the same road.

This was followed by another night attack where Kenyan truck drivers were brutally killed in an incident which has so far triggered protest by the truckers.

Last week the government gave a reassurance of teaming up with  Ugandan authorities to ensure that sanity returns on the road for both travelers and truck drivers who remain stuck at Elegu border point.