Large sections of the USAID funded 192 km Juba-Nimule highway have mysteriously ‘gone missing’ and are widely believed to have been uprooted and ‘stolen’ or ‘looted’ in an ongoing and widely unreported ‘looting of abandoned properties’ along similar unsafe routes by groups suspected to be armed and are known to generally answer to, and fall under, the name ‘unknown gunmen’.
Also reported as ‘gone missing’ are road sign posts, metallic railings and a whole 102 tonne stainless-steel bridge.
The embassy of the USA and its subsidiary – USAID – are said to be concerned about the development, and are silently and diplomatically furious that a USA-taxpayer-funded project has been abused and molested in such a manner.
“As far as the USA is concerned, we continue to be deeply concerned – like we have always been for the last 10 or more years – that such concerning concerns do not become more concerning…” tweeted the US special envoy to the Sudans following the report.
On their part, the South Sudan government via the Ministry of USA-funded-Roads and Stainless-steel Bridges said they may not have known about the theft of life-size bridges, but (now that it has come to light) they will come out with a statement to decry these rebellious, anti-Kiir’s achievements and IO-like behaviour.
“Again, we appeal to these thieving unknown gunmen to join their comrade VP Taban Gai Deng in the Transitional Government of National Unit (TGoNU) and stop targeting innocent tarmac roads, road signs and metal bridges… We know who these unknown criminals are… and they know that we know that they are not unknown – at least to us.. we say to them that they are better off with Taban Deng instead of digging up and carrying tonnes of asphalt and metal on their heads…” said a representative from the government in Juba.
However, some experts believe that the looted paved road, signs and bridges have been shipped inland and could have already been installed and re-purposed for individual and domestic use or interior design.
Dr. Kak Akwa, Saakam’s own resident expert in all matters, had these few words to say.
“While the unknown are always being blamed, they do not seem to have the capacity to transfer kilometres and kilometres of tarmac, nor do they have use for it… a road sign saying ‘9 km to Nimule city centre’ is said to have been seen on a rooftop of a makeshift camp more than 90 km from Nimule town… these criminals have graduated from de-roofing houses of their corrugated zinc roofing to looting everything they think is against their President – even road signs!”
This is not the first time in South Sudan that big-ass structures and masses of matter have decided to mysteriously disappear, run away or ‘go missing’. Recently just a few million US dollars in a secure vault in the Office of the President of South Sudan OOPSS (after feeling homesick, out of place or afraid of abuse) decided run away. Despite robust efforts by the carriers, nothing has ever been heard of these resources again, nor has any of the run-away money been spotted on the run.
Saakam has also learned that one ebay account is already garnering interest from collectors of similar items like pieces of the Berlin Wall. When we went to press, a 10 cm squared of a 2016-Juba-Nimule road on ebay started auctioning at 450 USD!
As insecurity continues to threatens the closure of even more roads, and as pieces of stolen (US sponsored) South Sudan infra-structure sell at a local-equivalent rate of 100 heads of cattle per few cm-squared, experts believe that South Sudan could be more resourceful and valuable than original thought.
“This is an opportunity some of them call ‘peace and development through war and insecurity'”, Dr. Kak Akwa added.