South Sudan bans foreign taxi drivers

Juba

Taxi drivers from Sudan working in the capital of neighbouring South Sudan are angry about a ban on foreign cabbies, it seems.

The interior ministry issued the rule last week without warning, angry taxi drivers told Radio Tamazuj, a Dutch station that covers the inter-Sudanese border area. They say officials are impounding their taxis in Juba and demanding a steep fee of 600 South Sudanese pounds (£61; $150) to have them released. As a result about 500 Sudanese drivers have had to quit work, not only affecting their livelihood but also, they say, causing a "transport crisis" in Juba.

South Sudan banned foreigners from operating 'boda-boda' motorbike taxis last year on the grounds that this would combat kidnappings, pickpockets and road accidents. Many observers said at the time it was simply an attempt to save jobs for locals. Ugandans, Kenyans and Sudanese have been quick to take advantage of business opportunities since South Sudan split from the north in 2011, and tensions over scarce jobs are not uncommon. The Sudanese embassy has promised to help the cabbies, but has not yet issued a statement.

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