South Sudan traders complain of lawlessness, insecurity

Armed gangs stealing with impunity, Juba merchants claim, as country faces return to violence

South Sudan traders complain of lawlessness, insecurity

World Bulletin / News Desk

Armed gangs disguised as police are plaguing traders working in the markets of South Sudan’s capital Juba as instability grips the country.

Despite assurances from the transitional government, market workers said their businesses had been repeatedly targeted by criminals dressed in police uniforms.

“Despite the ransacking of our shops last month, we traders in Jebel market are experiencing looting, intimidation and confiscation of our goods in a broad daylight by men dressed in police uniform,” Chol Akol, a market coordinator, told Anadolu Agency.

He said the looting was getting worse amid a deteriorating security situation since last month’s fighting between the factions within the transitional administration, causing First Vice President Riek Machar, who leads the rebel group, to flee the country, which now stands on the brink of a return to civil war.

The looting had been reported to the police who refused to intervene, Akol added.

Since early July, when fighting between Rachar’s forces and those loyal to President Salva Kiir left hundreds dead, South Sudan has faced the imminent prospect of renewed conflict following last year’s peace deal and the formation of a unity government in April.

The Sudan Tribune reported that more than 100 fighters were killed in Jonglei state, to the east of the country, over the weekend and on Tuesday U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told South Sudan’s Eye Radio that a UN arms embargo and sanctions could be imposed if the country’s leaders do not “do the things that they've promised to do.”

Renewed violence has prompted the UN to sanction the deployment of 4,000 extra peacekeepers and threaten an arms embargo if Kiir does not cooperate.

Juba has seen the brunt of the fresh violence and lawlessness. Trader Santino Khamis said he was arrested and tortured for days after he reported a member of the security forces to police when his shop was ransacked.

“I will shut down my business,” he said. “We face intimidation and unlawful arrest from the police every day. Maybe doing business in a neighboring country could be an option.”

Michael Ladu Allah-Jabu, the chairman of the city legislature, appealed to the government  to help the council carry out mobile patrols around Juba’s markets.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Ağustos 2016, 12:07