The expulsion of boda boda motorists from South Sudan didn’t target only Ugandan nationals, but people from other countries, Samuel Luate Lominsuk, the South Sudanese ambassador has clarified.
Towards the end of last month, the interior ministry of South Sudan banned foreigners from operating motorcycle transport commonly known as boda-boda.
The ban affected close to 1600 Ugandans operating in Juba and other parts of South Sudan. Lominsuk explains that Ugandans were affected most because majority of boda boda riders in South Sudan were Ugandans.
Lominsuk denies there is some form of xenophobia against Ugandans operating in Republic of Southern South Sudan.
Lominsuk explains that that ban was largely aimed at eliminating criminal elements, who had infiltrated the boda boda business to commit crimes such as armed robbery and murder among others.
He explained that the Boda-Boda rider had also become unruly defying all traffic rules, which led to several accidents.
Salim Okwai, one of the cyclists expelled from south Sudan says they were mistreated and ordered to leave without their belongings save for his motorcycle
Lominsuk says even after being expelled several Ugandan Boda-Boda motorists are increasingly being netted in robbery attempts on Banks and individuals. He says two Ugandans were last Thursday killed by Police during a robbery attempt.
There was a heated debate in Parliament following the expulsion of Ugandan Boda- Boda riders with some MPs suggesting that Uganda should equally expel South Sudan nationals. Lominuk says statements by some politicians and leaders in government have incited some Ugandans to retaliate against South Sudan nationals living in the country.
He says there were such incidents in Makindye and Nakawa Divisions in Kampala with cases reported at Police.
The Republic Of South Sudan has one of the largest numbers of students in Uganda from lower Primary to University. Some South Sudan nationals also own properties especially in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts.
An official at the Ministry Trade, who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to journalists, said the expulsion of South Sudanese in Uganda would have a dire effect on Uganda’s foreign earnings.
Trade between Uganda and Sudan is mainly informal but contributes to Uganda Foreign exchange earnings.