Traders protest in front of trucks impounded by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) at the Elegu border point for under-declaring the value of a cargo of fish from South Sudan in 2022. (File photo)

South Sudanese fish traders’ cargo detained at Uganda border

At least six trucks carrying salted fish from South Sudan to Uganda have been detained by Ugandan authorities at the border, sparking concerns among the South Sudanese fish trading community.

At least six trucks carrying salted fish from South Sudan to Uganda have been detained by Ugandan authorities at the border, sparking concerns among the South Sudanese fish trading community.

Garang Amol, a prominent fish trader, told Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday that Ugandan authorities are enforcing a new but unannounced protocol requiring a specific packaging and process for exporting fish to the East African Community (EAC) member states.

“The trucks have been detained at the Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border near South Sudan,” he said. “The reason for the detention is a new policy of which we were not notified.”

However, Dut Diing, the chairperson of the Fish Producers Trade Union in South Sudan, pointed out that the trucks proceeded to Uganda without adhering to the proper packaging standards set by the East African Community.

“We talked to our traders and informed them that they have to go with standard packaged fish because there is an East African standard,” he clarified. “Our traders do not listen because last time they were arrested in Uganda and we had them released. This time we are not going to have them released. They take immature fish when it is dirty with many other issues. That is not good!”

The incident has sparked a debate on the need for clearer communication and standardization of trade protocols within the East Africa Community.

Diing emphasized that the Government of South Sudan is taking the matter seriously and will engage in discussions with the Government of Uganda to resolve the issue and prevent future disruptions in trade.

This detention has not only caused a temporary halt in the movement of goods but also highlighted the challenges traders face in navigating the complex web of regional trade regulations.

Uganda authorities were not immediately available for comment.