Nuba Mountains: drivers dare lifeline road to Kauda
A businessman was shot dead recently on the route between Kauda and Jau in South Kordofan. Drivers continue to dare the route despite mud, points of flooding and the risk of armed robbery.
Both commercial and military vehicles use the road, which is partially secured by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. It serves as the only main supply line connecting Nuba Mountains to South Sudan.
A driver who identified himself as Khaled told Radio Tamazuj that a businessman was killed on the way after his vehicle broke down. He said that he passed the area where the killing occurred and gave a lift to the former driver of the murdered businessmen.
‘I left from Bentiu to Kauda, on the way we encountered some people who killed one of our businessmen. People are saying, how is the road? Well, the road is really bad. I fear that if I go back I will die’.
The driver elaborated that the victim had been traveling together with his driver. They were no other passengers because the vehicle was filled with goods. The car broke down and the driver went back to Jau to look for a spare part while the trader remained with the car. When the driver returned, he found the trader dead.
Khaled said he didn’t know the name of the victim but he knows his brother, who is a businessman from Darfur named Ibrahim. After the killing a group of three soldiers came and tried to track the killers by their footprints.
He added that a stretch of road between Jirad and Dar is considered dangerous: ‘People fear to travel that road’. From Jau to Idang there are no police patrols, only a few security posts with just a handful of men. The soldiers at these forest checkpoints are not equipped with vehicles to assist travelers. From Dar southward to Jau and beyond into Unity State the road is secured, he said.
Omar Atia Mohamed Suleiman, a driver from eastern Abbasiya Tagali, also said the stretch between Kauda and Jau is problematic. He named three difficult places: the entrance to Kororak on the Kororak river, the junction of Delebai, and the entrance to Jau from Dar to Hijarat.
Khaled, for his part, said that the way is impassable in Galab area due to seasonal streams, forcing travelers to divert through territory of Farandala and Misseriya. Even on that way there is a difficult spot at a bridge that badly needs repairs. Heavily laden or poorly maintained vehicles will not be able to pass that point.
Suleiman complained also that vehicle spare parts are no longer available in Kauda even in the garages. He said that only aid organizations have spare parts. ‘If you want a spare you have to send for it in Bentiu, and if it’s not there then you have to send for it from Juba. It can take 10 to 15 days’.
He recommended that authorities pour meiram rocks on Kororak road at the point where it was flooded by the Khor Galab, and at the entrance to Tabania. He also recommended creating three security posts on the road heading from Hijarat to Jau, including one in Hijarat, one in Dar, and third one between Hijarat and Dar. The forces at these posts could provide escort to trade and supply convoys, deterring armed robbers.
Photo by Radio Tamazuj: Vehicles struggle through mud in Umm Dorein Locality, South Kordofan.