An international NGO humanitarian convoy was ambushed in the Abegi area of Central Equatoria's Yei County on Monday, August 10, whilst en route to provide medical services at a refugee camp in Lasu. The convoy, consisting of an ambulance and a passenger vehicle, was reportedly attacked on the Yei-Lasu road, around 16km (10 miles) from Yei. The driver of the first vehicle was able to drive through the ambush after being wounded in the initial attack, but the ambulance was stopped and robbed by the gunmen, who escaped with medical supplies. Those in the ambulance, including medical personnel and four patients, fled into the bush during the attack but were later accounted for.
Further roadside bandit attacks are likely in the near term.
Overland travel in all areas of South Sudan is hazardous. Banditry and lawlessness are common in remote regions, particularly along the borders with the DRC and Central African Republic. Violent crime in such areas often targets foreign nationals and there have been reports of foreign aid workers being victims of kidnapping, armed robbery, carjacking, and murder. Criminal and militant ambushes occur regularly on roads in isolated parts of the country as well as on routes leading to Juba. The Juba-Nimule road and other routes near the border with Uganda have seen a particularly high number of attacks on convoys and single vehicles in recent years.
Due to the high threat of violent crime, all travel to South Sudan should be subject to a thorough localized threat assessment and undertaken in coordination with a trusted security provider. Travelers are advised to subject all travel, particularly to remote and rural areas, to strict journey management protocols. Avoid travel at night, vary routines, and maintain a heightened sense of situational awareness. Monitor local media sources to remain apprised of security-related developments and adhere to any directives issued by local authorities.
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