Safety and security
The peace agreement signed in August 2015 has led to a reduction in large scale fighting. However, there are continued reports of sporadic and sometimes heavy fighting in parts of South Sudan, particularly in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile States.
Juba is a rapidly growing city with a huge disparity in wealth between foreigners and most of the local population. Avoid going out at night unless for essential travel and don’t walk after dark. Guns are common and you should be aware that criminals may be armed.
There is a high security presence in Juba, especially at night, and particularly around road junctions and government buildings. You will come across security checkpoints and you should be prepared to respond to these in a calm, patient and respectful manner.
We advise against all travel to the regions bordering Sudan (Upper Nile, Unity, Northern and Western Bar el Ghazal States). Parts of the border between Sudan and South Sudan have yet to be delineated, and the status of some armed groups along the border remains unresolved. This has led to intense fighting in recent months in disputed regions, as well as to aerial bombings.
We also advise against all travel to areas bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR). The presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) within DRC and CAR has been a source of cross-border attacks into South Sudan. In 2012, the African Union launched a joint military offensive against the LRA. A previous joint offensive led to violent LRA retaliations against the civilian population in villages located in western border areas. There is a heightened risk of attacks and kidnappings in the region.
Jonglei State/Unity /Upper Nile
We advise against all travel to Jonglei ,Unity and Upper Nile states. Frequent inter-communal violence over land ownership and cattle rustling have led to abductions and reprisal attacks. Hundreds of deaths have been reported and tens of thousands of people have been displaced due to clashes.
There is a risk of terrorism in all parts of South Sudan.
There is widespread violent crime, including kidnapping, armed robbery, car-jacking and sexual assault, throughout South Sudan. The security risk is especially high in Juba, which has also seen a recent increase in car-jacking and gun crime, including compound invasions and attacks on places frequented by foreigners, such as hotels and restaurants. Criminal activity is prevalent at all times of the day.
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
- Take a number of photocopies of your passport with you in case your passport is lost or stolen. Leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting any business
- If you’re visiting a bank, be aware of your surroundings and of any people that may be watching you. If you’re withdrawing or changing money, you may be targeted by armed robbers upon leaving
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations
- Be alert to the possibility of your vehicle being followed and be careful when you leave the vehicle
- If you’re confronted by armed attackers, leave the area immediately, if it’s safe to do so. If not, then you should do what your attackers demand without resistance
If you’re a victim of a crime while in South Sudan, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Embassy of Ireland in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in South Sudan, you should be very careful. Driving conditions and standards in South Sudan are well below those of Ireland. Very few roads are surfaced and maintained. At night, there is street lighting only on a few main roads and many motorbikes, cars and trucks have no lights. Roads may consist of a rough track and in many areas, not even that in rainy season. Any journeys not following a major route or road should include a local guide with experience of the area.
During the wet season (July to November) roads, including highways, may become impassable as road conditions deteriorate.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
Expect serious shortages of fuel whenever tensions between Sudan and South Sudan are high.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
You are at high risk of involvement in traffic accidents when using public transport, as many vehicles are unsafe.
We can’t be sure that maintenance procedures on aircraft used for internal flights are properly observed so if possible, don’t fly on airlines listed under the EU operating ban.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance remain a danger throughout South Sudan. You are urged to only use main roads and paths labelled as cleared by a competent de-mining authority.
Wed, 11 May 2016 12:23:24 BST