JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN - Days after South Sudan's Interior Ministry banned foreigners from operating motorbike taxis, Ugandans who drive the popular mode of transport, called boda bodas, in the country say highwaymen claiming to be policemen are stealing their bikes.
Ugandan boda boda operator Ekota Martin said more than 100 of his colleagues have had their bikes stolen by people claiming to be police officers, who stopped them on the 192-kilometer Juba-Nimule road, which links the South Sudanese capital to the border with Uganda,
“Somebody can just stand in the road... and you have to give him the boda boda, whether you like it or not," he said.
Leaders of the Ugandan community in South Sudan say their embassy in Juba has not received any official notification of the new rule, which was passed on Friday. South Sudanese officials have said the aim of the new rule is to prevent foreigners from taking jobs from South Sudanese.
Tibo Brahan, acting chairperson of the Ugandan Community in South Sudan, advised Ugandans to refrain from driving boda bodas in South Sudan until the issue is sorted out.
“We decided with embassy management that we will call all our Ugandan boda boda operators to lay down their tools," he said.
"Let them for the time being park their motorcycles in their respective places of residence until we get an official position from the government of South Sudan through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
Hundreds of the boda bodas in Juba are thought to be operated by Ugandans.