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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
UN mission launches campaign to protect civilians in South Sudan

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Wednesday launched the road safety campaign in which it distributed protective gear to hundreds of commercial motorcyclists in a bid to prevent accidents.

The UNMISS head David Shearer told journalists that commercial motorcyclists, the common means of transport in Juba and surrounding towns in South Sudan, are critical to the economy of the country.

“It is great pleasure to be supporting the boda boda (commercial motorcyclists) in Juba. Without you Juba would come to a standstill and nobody would be able to travel around. And we understand that you do a big service to the economy of Juba and South Sudan,” he said in Juba.

Shearer noted that most families are being sustained by this business amid ongoing economic hardship.

Many accidents around Juba have been blamed on reckless motor cycle riders, coupled with the incessant robberies that are aided by use of motorcycles.

Taban Michael 27, a commercial motorcyclist since 2008 and still pursuing studies in clinical medicine said the 1,500 helmets and reflector jackets donated by UNMISS will improve their protection during work and help distinguish them from criminals.

“The helmet protects me when I get accident and the reflector jacket will identify me at night,” he said he and host of colleagues marched through Juba streets in a campaign dubbed ride of peace and safety.

Another commercial motorcyclist Vuni Kennedy Wani, 26, said they now feel more secure at work and will no longer spend their hard earned money on purchasing the expensive helmet, adding they are free from being harassed and arrests by police authorities.

“These days even riding a motorcycle is a problem especially at night, people (robbers) will just attack and you don’t know where they are coming from. So we need peace,” he said.

He disclosed that some of their workmates have died due to persistent insecurity and several have had their motorcycles stolen.

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South Sudan shuts down mobile phone firm over dispute

JUBA (Xinhua) -- South Sudan’s telecom regulator has shut down mobile phone firm Vivacell’s network, accusing the operator of not complying with the country’s laws and regulations.

Ladu Kenyi, Director General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), effected the shutdown on Tuesday midnight following the expiration of a one-week ultimatum.

“We are shutting down all the traffic of Vivacell because of non compliance. We are tackling one company at a time. If we are finished with Vivacell, we shall come to others,” Kenyi said in a statement broadcast on state radio Tuesday evening.

The South Sudanese authorities had earlier suspended Vivacell’s international traffic and ordered it to close within a week. The company’s local and international traffic services have all been disconnected.

Kenyi said Vivacell—a joint venture between Lebanon’s Fattouch Investment Group and South Sudanese traders—has been operating without a license in disregard of the country’s communications law.

The official said the government would ensure that Vivacell customers would get compensation for losses caused by the shutdown.

“We are asking the public to bear with us and be patient because we are showing that this country is sovereign because no body will come here and play with our regulations,” Kenyi said.

Vivecell is yet to respond to its closure. But last week, the telecom company said in a statement that it regretted the suspension order and said was working with authorities to settle the matter.

Two operators, Kuwait’s Zain and South Africa’s MTN, remain operational in South Sudan. 

           

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