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Risky roads: South Sudan’s dire record for traffic safety

Davis Mugume
As the United Nations marked World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on November 15, South Sudan has its own good reasons to take a close look at its road safety.
16.11.2015  |  Juba, South Sudan
A head-on collision on November 12, 2014 between a passenger bus traveling from Kampala and a truck on the Juba to Nimule roadway that left at least 3 people dead. (photo: The Niles | Davis Mugume)
A head-on collision on November 12, 2014 between a passenger bus traveling from Kampala and a truck on the Juba to Nimule roadway that left at least 3 people dead. (photo: The Niles | Davis Mugume)

South Sudan has a limited road infrastructure but many accidents, including at least three people killed every day on the road between the South Sudanese capital, Juba, to the border town of Nimule, according to South Sudan’s Directorate of Road safety, part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Concrete numbers are hard to come by but in the year 2010, the last data available, there were 1,404 accidents in the capital Juba alone and 92 people were killed.

Wayward driving and a lack of regulations often cause fatalities. For example, more than 60 people were killed on the Juba-Nimule road when a passenger bus crashed head-on with a truck carrying goods from Uganda last September. Police officials blamed the accident on a truck driving on the wrong side of the road, sparking the head-on collision.

Dr. Abraham Adut Abenego, Director at the Accidents and Emergency Department at Juba Teaching Hospital, says bad road practices are behind the country’s high number of accidents. “Especially at the weekends you expect a large number of patients to come in because of car accidents - some are drunk,” he says.

He added that his hospital may receive up to 80 patients involved in road accidents in one day.

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