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Truck drivers released after 21-days at border

By By SAMMY JAKAA | October 9th 2013 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300


The truck drivers transporting United Nations military cargo to Southern Sudan who had been stopped by custom officials at the Malaba border have now been allowed to proceed with their journey.

The drivers had been stranded at the border for three weeks for lack of clearance documents to enable them enter Southern Sudan.

It is alleged that the clearing agents at the Uganda-Southern Sudan border had denied them clearance into the country due to what was termed as incomplete documentation.

“We have wasted a lot of time at the border awaiting clearance in order to proceed. However, we have been receiving very scanty information which did not serve us any good and we are now behind schedule,” said the cargo drivers’ spokesman, Nathaniel Munyaka.

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Truck drivers last week protested against alleged detention without proper communication from relevant authorities. However, custom officials declined to talk to the press.

Malaba Uganda Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD), Joseph Mwesigye, confirmed the trucks had eventually left the yard adding that Uganda Revenue Authority was not to blame for the delay.

He said the transporters and truck owners were entirely to be blamed for not processing the transportation documents in time adding that the cargo being transported was very sensitive.

Munyaka, said they were finally allowed to proceed with their journey after the long delay without being compensated.

He added that it was a relief to the drivers to be cleared after being held at the border for more than 21-days. Over 18 drivers had been affected by the delay.

The drivers were transporting UN military gear from the port of Mombasa to Juba, South Sudan via the Malaba border.

The cargo was cleared by the Kenyan authorities and handed over to Uganda by the Kenya Defense Forces soldiers who were escorting it.

The drivers were worried since most of them were running out of supplies as they expected to spend a maximum of three-days on the road.

“We were running out of supplies and if the stalemate had continued then we would have really suffered,” said Munyaka.

Kenyan and Ugandan authorities have in the recent past intensified security screening at the border after the Westgate terror attack in Nairobi.

United Nations Sudan Uganda Kenya Defense Forces
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