Five Ugandans are among the 15 passengers who were shot dead on Thursday in an ambush by unknown gunmen on a civilian convoy on the fragile Nimule-Juba Highway in South Sudan, according to Ugandan security officials.
About 35 passengers sustained severe injuries in the ambush at Moli village, about 140 kilometres from Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
Aswa Regional Police Spokesperson Jimmy Patrick Okema on Friday confirmed the death of Ugandans in an interview with Daily Monitor.
Mr Okema identified the deceased as John Nigo, 73, Charles Yeka 74, Rev Yona Mboro 74, John Paru Loja, 28 and James Aliker 34; all residents of Koboko District in northern Uganda.
He said the deceased were travelling to Juba for a wedding in a Toyota Premeo car Reg. No. SSD 393D.
Mr Okema said bodies would be handed to relatives in Nimule town on Friday.
Two South Sudan soldiers were also killed.
The civilian convoy that was targeted comprised buses and other vehicles was being escorted by members of a joint South Sudan army and police force that guards convoys travelling to unsafe regions.
Two Toyota Land Cruisers vehicles belonging to the National Intelligent Security Agency were burnt by the attackers.
The Thursday ambush was the second this week on Nimule-Juba Highway after an attack on Monday that left one person dead and four injured.
Lt Hassan Kato, the Fourth Infantry Division Spokesperson said intelligence they have intelligence report that indicates that the attack could have been carried by members of Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition [SPLA-IO] who are opposed to the Juba government.
Lt Kato said security on the Nimule-Juba Highway has been volatile since the outbreak of war between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Dr Riek Machar in Juba in July last year.
- A file photo of Ugandan Police oficers manning the Ugandan border at Elegu Border point in Atiak Subcounty Amuru district. Photo by Julius Ocungi