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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Tougher anti-terrorism measures earmarked for Juba airport

By Julius N. Uma

September 21, 2010 (JUBA) — Juba international airport will soon be equipped with state-of-the art radar systems to avert any anticipated terrorism attacks on Southern Sudan, Anthony Lino Makana, the Roads and Transport has revealed.

Anthony Lino Makana, GoSS Roads and Transport Minister (ST)
Anthony Lino Makana, GoSS Roads and Transport Minister (ST)
According to Makana, installation of the new radar system, which is capable of
detecting planes located more than 200 miles from the airport, will form part of meeting already earmarked for Montreal, Canada from Sept.28-Oct. 03.

“The government remains committed in its mandate to improve services to the people. We are on course and soon Juba airport will be upgraded to internationally-recognized standards,” he told journalists attending the weekly media forum.

The fairly-small Juba airport reportedly handles between 70-80 planes that land daily, a development that calls for rapid expansion of the facility, while 33 air companies, mostly operating small aircrafts, have opened businesses in Southern Sudan.

“We are already in the process of expanding Juba airport. The process is rather slower because at the moment some legal battles are still ongoing between government and neighboring communities over land situated within the airport areas,” he said.

Makana also outlaid his ministry’s strategic plan reportedly contained in the Southern Sudan Road Safety Authority Bill, soon to be enacted by Parliament. These, he said, include civil aviation, railways, river transport, and road safety as well air transport directorates.

The Road and Transport Ministry, he said, still faces several challenges, citing financial constraints, unskilled labor force and the presence of landmines in most areas as some of the major bottlenecks to construction and rehabilitation of transport systems.

Currently, an estimated 29,000 km of road reportedly connect Juba, the South Sudan capital to other states, yet only 7,000 km, according to Makana, have so far been rehabilitated. Plans are also underway to connect Juba to Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Meanwhile, traders plying the Juba-Nimule road will breathe some sigh of relief after it emerged yesterday that tarmacing of the long-stretch will be completed by November next year, courtesy of a $200m grant from the US government.

Also, a memorandum of understanding is in the offing between Southern Sudan and neighboring Uganda to seek joint donor support for establishing and reviving the railway transport, which will link Juba to the northern Uganda town of Gulu.

“Railway transport which is one of the cheapest means of transport will be very useful not only for traders, but passengers as well. We also intend to link Juba to Kampala, Mombasa and even go as far as South Africa,” Makana said.

In Southern Sudan, the Roads and Transport Minister reiterated that his
government intends to construct nearly 1,680km of railway linking Juba to Wau, via Rumbek in Lakes state and Tambura in Western Equatoria state.

(ST)