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Traffic negligence: the nightmare of Unity State residents

Traffic negligence: the nightmare of Unity State residents  

In most states across South Sudan, hunger and climate shocks are some of the major concerns residents struggle to cope with. In Unity State, it’s road accidents.

Some residents in the state’s capital Bentiu have resorted to walking amid a worrying scale of road carnage spurred by traffic negligence.

This comes on the back of a traffic report which details that in March and April alone, road accidents claimed 56 lives and left 120 people critically injured.

Traffic authorities cited overspeeding and failure to adhere to basic traffic rules. Some motorists, the officers say, operate brakeless cars as in the case of the Rubkona accident where a car veered off the road.

The report also says this month, 15 people, including three children, were knocked by motorcyclists and humanitarian vehicles in Bentiu IDP camp due to overspeeding in the congested camp.

The newly-nominated Bentiu IDP camp chairperson Mr John Nhial Koah said his leadership banned motorbikes and business cars over rampant accidents in the densely populated camp.

“We have no traffic police in Bentiu IDP camp, but I instructed sector leaders, joint police officers and community watch groups not to allow business vehicles to enter Bentiu IDP camp because they are causing a lot of accidents, especially on the main road to the football ground,” Nhial told Juba Echo. He said at least 11 children aged 9-12 years died of road accidents.

Juba Echo established that community leaders from Rubkona and Bentiu IDP camp have agreed to rope in State police as the situation is proving to be out of control.

“As I am talking now, some boda-bodas are already arrested because of overspeeding in the overpopulated camp,” the chairperson told Juba Echo during an interview in Bentiu IDP camp.

Unity State traffic police director Damai Kai Dak said more than 11 cars were arrested and 20 boda-bodas were also arrested for violating road safety measures as of 06/05/2022.

“We are aware of daily road accidents and what happened some cars have no brakes, and some drivers have no driving licenses,” he noted. “They just drive anyhow, but today we give them lesson that they will learn, we have arrested 11 business cars and 20 boda-bodas for violating traffic laws,” Dak told Juba Echo.

On Thursday, a business truck carrying goods from unity oilfield to Rubkona town overturned and killed one pregnant woman and wounded five people according to the traffic director.

But the situation scares the blind even more. Mr Gai Kuany Chatiem, a 41-year-old visually impaired man living in Bentiu IDP camp challenged Unity State traffic police to call motorists to order and bring an end to the rampant accidents.

“Why really do the traffic police allow overspeeding and brakeless cars to transport people? This is really concerning,” he said. “Traffic police should impose strong road safety measures and confiscate driving permits for those who violate road safety measures,” Kuany said.

Many residents in Bentiu, especially those in IDP camp, sources say, have deliberately become pedestrians due to fear of getting involved in road accidents at any given time.

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