UK warns citizens against ‘night travels’ in South Sudan

UK warns citizens against ‘night travels’ in South Sudan

The government of the United Kingdom issued a travel advisory for its citizens planning to visit South Sudan, urging them to consider precautionary measures.

The advisory reportedly came as a result of reports of inter-communal violence, fighting between armed forces, and heightened criminal acts in Juba.

“There are regular reports of inter-communal violence in some areas of the country, 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,” it noted.

“A deterioration in the security situation remains possible and could be prompted by a number of factors, including developments in the fragile economy and the ongoing peace process.”

The British government further cautioned them against walking in the dark and staying vigilant about the security situation by tracking daily updates from the local media.

“Consular support is severely limited in South Sudan. The British Embassy in Juba does not have a consular section. If you are in South Sudan and need urgent help from the UK Government, contact the British High Commission in Nairobi,” the letter continued.

It added that British citizens should make personal arrangements without relying on the Embassy and should only contact it when facing safety concerns.

It warned against protests and large gatherings that violated the laws of the local authorities and security organs.

“The main road connecting Juba to Uganda is extremely dangerous, with regular reports of accidents and attacks on vehicles by armed groups. See Safety and Security,” the advisory continued.

“If you choose to travel to South Sudan against FCDO advice, exercise caution and vigilance at all times and avoid any travel during the hours of darkness,” the advisory read.

It also urged its citizens to check the visa and entry requirements for the countries they might pass through as they head to the UK and get foreign travel insurance.

On January 31, 2023, the Troika, made up of the US, UK, and Norway, warned their citizens against a possible emergence of violence in South Sudan days ahead of the ecumenical pilgrimage of peace by Pope Francis.

The Troika asked the government of South Sudan to act fast after raising concerns over fresh fighting in Upper Nile State, Jonglei State, and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.

“We note with grave concern indications of preparation for renewed fighting in Upper Nile State,” read a Troika statement.

“South Sudanese transitional leaders and political actors in Juba have a responsibility to act to prevent this and to find peaceful and sustainable solutions,” added the statement.

The advisory argued that “since 2018, the revitalised agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) had been holding, but deadlocks had been noticed between the government and SPLM-IO led by Dr. Riek Machar Teny over the removal of the minister for defence, Angelina Teny, and the swapping of the ministries of interior and defence to SPLM-IO and SPLM, respectively”.