South Sudan armed opposition blocks major roads in Yei state

Sudan Tribune 8. October 2016

October 7, 2016 (JUBA) – Armed opposition forces allied to the former First Vice President, Riek Machar, have blocked major and key strategic roads to and from Yei town, the administrative headquarters of the newly created Yei River state, according to local and religious leaders in the area.

SA batch of the SPLA-IO forces after arrival in Juba, 1 April, 2016 (ST Photo

The move carried out by dissidents armed youth involved in a hit and run military activities has cut off the area from Kaya, one of the border towns linking South Sudan with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The blocked main road serves as one of the vital trading routes for South Sudan. It is significantly important for the armed opposition forces to sustain the pressure on government forces if they can maintain and avoid being recaptured by the government forces.

This new revelation comes after David Lokonga Moses, governor of the state, had asked religious leaders in the area to organise themselves and see how they could hold talks with armed dissidents to end hostilities.

“Life in Yei is not easy. There is no movement into and out of Yei for the last few days. Life has been complicated by the crisis. You cannot go beyond the parameters of the town. The Juba-Yei road is off, the same thing for Yei-Morobo road and Kaya –Yei road as well as Yei- Maridi road. These are the major supplying roads in the state. If they are affected by the insecurity like this, then life of the people is in danger,” Moses Duku, a local administrative officer in Yei town, told Sudan Tribune when asked about the situation in the area.

Episcopal church Bishop of Yei, Hilary Luate Adeba, also said in a separate interview with Sudan Tribune that the life in town was not normal, saying religious leaders are exerting efforts to build trust and promote an atmosphere of love.

Yei, according to Bishop Adeba, has been experiencing unusual insecurity situation. He acknowledged that governor Lokonga had asked religious leaders to reach out to the dissidents armed youth in the area for talks so that hostilities stop.

“As the church, we are talking to everybody to listen to the cry of the people and stop fighting. The people are suffering. The schools have been closed down, markets are not functioning normally, health centres in the villages and counties have ceased to operate, there are no people in the villages attending to crops which were planted. It is really a difficult situation and we appeal for a stop to hostilities. We appeal to all those involved in these hostilities to stop and listen to the people,” he pleaded.

Kaya, which is cut off from Yei, is located approximately 78 kilometers (48 miles) southeast of Yei and lies approximately 220 kilometers (140 miles) south of Juba, capital of South Sudan and largest town in the country.

Kaya sits directly across the border from Oroba in Uganda and situated close to Mbazi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is believed that opposition forces are preparing for major assaults on government-controlled towns including Yei and Juba, the national capital, follow the collapse of the August 2015 peace agreement.