South Sudan: Ugandan Engineer Killed by Mob in Equatoria State

At least six people have been confirmed dead after a vehicle belonging to MTN South Sudan collided with a motorcycle carrying three passengers along the Ngauro-Kapoeota South County road in Eastern Equatoria State on Sunday.

According to officials, the MTN vehicle was driving from Ngauro in Budi County to Kapoeta South and collided with a boda-boda carrying three female passengers who died on the spot. The rider succumbed to his injuries shortly after being rushed to the Kapoeta Civil Hospital.

The local community then grabbed the driver of the MTN vehicle and another occupant, an MTN staffer, and killed them using mob justice.

The MTN workers have been identified Jonan Mugumya, a Ugandan telecoms engineer and a driver of Kenyan origin.

Major Bonna Anthony, the inspector of police in Kapoeta South County, told South Sudanese local radio station Radio Tamazuj that the incident happened on Sunday at around 4:30 p.m. and that all the dead bodies are currently at the mortuary in Kapoeta Civil Hospital awaiting to be taken for burial. He said the MTN vehicle was at the scene of the accident

“This accident happened on Sunday afternoon. Three girls were being carried on a motorcycle and an MTN car was coming from the opposite direction and all of them were speeding, lost control, and collided,” he clarified.

“The three girls died on the spot and the rider died after being taken to hospital. The local community also killed the MTN driver and passenger and all the six bodies, three men and three women, are in the mortuary.”

Meanwhile, Juma Justin, the executive director of Kapoeta South County, confirmed the accident but denied that a mob killed the two MTN workers and insisted that they died as a result of the accident.

“On Sunday, many people came from the villages for prayers in Kapoeta town and when they were returning home in the evening, some three girls climbed on a boda-boda and got involved in an accident along the road with an MTN vehicle coming from Ngauro. Six people died in the accident.  It is unfortunate for us the people of Kapoeta and it is the first of its kind,” he stated. “These foreign drivers sometimes do not know the direction and instead of using the right side, they drive on the left because our traffic law differs from that of Kenya and this is the cause of this accident.”

Justin added: “These were MTN officials who went to repair the network in Ngauro, one is a Ugandan and the other is a Kenyan.”

For his part, Longoria Jeff, a South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) legislator representing Kapoeta South County in the Eastern Equatoria State Parliament, warned motorists against speeding and condemned the practice of mob justice and revenge.  He urged communities not to take the law into their own hands but to follow due legal processes.

“I feel very bad about what has happened because it is a great loss to all of us, to the neighboring countries, and also to us because the driver is a Kenyan and the engineer is a Ugandan. What has happened is very bad,” he said. “I expected the community to handle this matter rightfully. Whenever you are driving, you have to drive carefully to prevent accidents.”

Attempts to reach the Kapoeta South County traffic police authorities for comment were unsuccessful.

Chol Mawel