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S Sudanese stranded at Elegu, not allowed to cross

Author: Woja Emmanuel | Published: Monday, March 23, 2020

Some of the South Sudanese nationals stranded at Elegu on Monday, March 23, 20202 | Credit | Okot Emmanuel/Eye Radio

More than 500 South Sudanese nationals are stranded at the Uganda-South Sudan border after Ugandan authorities officially closed its borders for 14 days due to coronavirus fears.

On Saturday, authorities there announced that no person would be allowed to enter the country starting 23 March in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Last week, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni also issued an order suspending all learning institutions for 32 days.

This forced hundreds of South Sudanese children who study in Uganda to return home.

However, they have been stranded at the border town of Elegu since yesterday waiting for further directives from the Ugandan authorities to let them cross over to Nimule.

“Some of them are schoolchildren. They told me their schools were closed due to COVID-19 and had to leave because they have no places to stay in Kampala,” reported Eye Radio’s Okot Emmanuel.

On Sunday, Vice President James Wani Igga said Uganda had assured South Sudan government that the borders would remain open for goods entering South Sudan.

South Sudan greatly depends on Uganda for imports, including essential market commodities such as sugar, flour, and oil.

Uganda’s exports to South Sudan was $355.75 million during 2018, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

But trade between the two countries had declined due to instability in South Sudan over the years; it has since rebounded and is now expected to grow faster.

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