UNMISS Chief says good roads vital for Bor and Pibor
Roads are vital to drive commerce and connect people in Jonglei and Boma states with South Sudan’s capitol city Juba, said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, David Shearer, during a recent visit to Bor.
Mr Shearer, who is also the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), discussed the rehabilitation of the Juba-Bor and Juba-Pibor roads during a meeting with Jonglei State Governor Philip Aguer Panyang on 31 Oct. in Bor.
On average, the journey from Juba to Bor takes close to 15 days for large vehicles to travel. However, due to impassable road conditions, traffic has completely stopped on the Juba-Pibor road.
In August, over fifty trucks got stuck on the road which led to the depletion of supplies in the town market and drove up the price of goods.
In Pibor, a bag of maize flour sells at a premium price of 30,000 SSP (close to US $16) due to air transport. One kilogram of sugar sells for 600 SSP (around US $3.3) and is estimated to be the most expensive price for sugar throughout the country.
David Shearer said a good road network is vital for the people of Bor and Pibor given their need to connect to the capital city of Juba.
“We also of course raise the issue of roads which is a major issue here. We need to make sure the major supply lines continue to operate between Bor and Juba and more importantly I think between Bor and Pibor as the Governor said -it is better to have trade,” Mr Shearer said.
“We are working together with him to try to bring peace to greater Jongleim," David Shearer told journalists at the Bor Airport.
Mr Shearer arrived in Bor Tuesday as part of his efforts to push for durable peace in the region.
Jonglei state governor Philip Aguer Panyang acknowledged the indispensable support of the United Nations mission.
He applauded the role the UN mission has played in the country including the facilitation of peace conferences between the Murle and Dinka communities.
“We briefly discussed issues of peace and reconciliation process and we are happy the UN Mission in South Sudan based in Jonglei is doing a lot in terms of facilitation. We discussed issues of addressing conflict, of cattle rustling and child abduction, issues of conferences, peace and reconciliation,” Governor Philip Aguer told the press.
Due to the continued slow down via road travel, many have resorted to water transport as a means of travel. Unfortunately, five boats have capsized in two-months along the river Nile sparking fears among many local business owners.
In 2015 UNMISS peacekeepers rehabilitated the Juba-Bor road. As a result, travel time substantially decreased from days to hours from Bor to the capital.
The second phase of Juba-Bor road rehabilitation, discussed by the UNMISS Chief David Shearer and Jonglei state Governor Philip Aguer is expected to restore the possibility of travelling quickly to the capital.
The road improvement by UNMISS will also help remote states like Akobo, Bieh and Fangak which depend on Bor’s market for goods and services.
With improved roads transport fares and food commodity prices are expected to reduce dramatically, reducing the financial burden on ordinary citizens in Bor and Pibor.