A traffic policeman monitoring speeding drivers along the Juba-Nimule “highway” has been gunned down after his speed-gun was mistaken for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher (RPG).
According to witnesses, the policeman had taken up his semi-concealed position behind some bushes along the road and was aiming his gun at passing traffic. His accident came when he aimed at a convoy of speeding land-cruisers allegedly accompanying an important government official. An unknown number of bodyguards saw the figure in the bushes and responded, in what their lawyers are calling ‘self-defence’, injuring the policeman and destroying one of only two speed-guns recently acquired by the Ministry of Interior.
The Ministry of Interior recently announced the acquisition of two hand-held speed-guns and warned speeding drivers of severe consequences should they be caught speeding.
Speaking from his hospital bed in Juba, the recovering policemen said his shooters were ‘kind enough’ to stop and bring him to the hospital after the misunderstanding.
“They wanted to know why and what kind of gun I was aiming at their cars, I told them it’s a speed gun – but it does not shot or kill, it only measures how fast a car is going. One of them told me, the only way to stop a speeding car is to shoot at it with a real gun….”
With this near-fatal misunderstanding, the debate is alive again whether it was a good idea in the first place to have someone in uniform aiming ‘guns’ at passing cars.
“South Sudanese are so traumatised, when they see something aimed at them – in this case a gun -, they might decide to accelerate, or maybe eliminate what they suspect is someone ready to take them out,” said one driver.
The other speed-gun (only one left) has been recalled and is being kept at general headquarters, locked in a cupboard in the office of the Police General.