By William Madouk
United Kingdom government has again issued travel advice on South Sudan, warning its nationals of heightened inter-communal violence and criminality in parts of the country.
In a travel advisory on Thursday, the UK government, via the Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), advised its nationals against all travel to South Sudan, citing recurring violence in some parts of the country.
“A ceasefire is currently in place and has largely held since September 2018. However, there are regular reports of inter-communal violence in some areas of the country,” the UK said in a statement.
“You should be vigilant of the local security situation, monitor the local media, and stay in a safe location,” it added.
The advisory continued, “as well as sporadic reports of fighting between armed groups. Serious criminality in Juba and other urban areas, particularly during the hours of darkness, is also a regular concern.”
According to British authorities, deterioration in the security situation remains plausible and could be prompted by factors, including developments in the fragile economy and the ongoing peace process.
They also claimed that there are serious criminalities in Juba and other towns, mainly during dark hours, which should raise the eyebrows of British citizens within and those planning to come to South Sudan.
“In the event of a serious deterioration in the security situation, similar to those of July 2016 and December 2013, routes into and out of South Sudan may be blocked, the UK claimed.
The United Kingdom also alleged that Juba airport may be closed or would be inaccessible, and flights may be suspended at short notice.
The UK government said the regional developments may also increase the unpredictability of infrastructure and transport, as happened in April 2019 when events in Sudan led to the temporary closure of South Sudan’s airspace.
“The main road connecting Juba to Uganda is extremely dangerous, with regular reports of accidents and attacks on vehicles by armed groups,” it noted.
Still, the government of South Sudan has yet to respond to the matter.
Last year, the US government issued a similar travel advisory to its nationals against traveling to South Sudan, citing crimes, kidnapping, and armed conflict.
But the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei, on October 20, 2022, criticized the US travel advisory, terming it untrue’ but a ‘concocted’ piece to tarnish the country’s image.
Makuei also referred to the US as “people who do not want to see South Sudan at peace.”