4th August 2021
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Clerics deeply concerned by atrocities in Tambura, urged gov’t to intervene

Author: Charles Wote | Published: Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Civilians escaping violence in areas around Tambura town over the weekend in Western Equatoria state. Courtesy

Religious leaders in Western Equatoria state have expressed serious concerns over what they see as massive destruction, killings, and the displacement of civilians in Tambura County.

It is reported that violence resumed in the area over the weekend.

There are claims that several homes have been torched and an unconfirmed number of people killed.

Thousands of people have been displaced from Source Yubu, Akpa, Mabenge, Kpatanayo, and other locations.

“What is going on in Tambura where people are being displaced, people being killed is making us very sad, and we are concerned,” the clerics said in a statement seen by Eye Radio.

Over the weekend, renewed attacks in the area resulted in the death of one person and the injury of four others.

The residence of the Paramount Chief of Tambura was burnt and looted by armed men.

Chief Mboribamu Baabe Renzi was, however, relocated to a different location.

Officials say several other homesteads have also been torched by the attackers.

This latest incident occurred a week after a delegation led by the national Minister of parliament affairs a peace dialogue in Tambura with different communities.

Jemma Nunu Kumba told Eye Radio earlier that people in the area had agreed to peacefully coexist.

The motive behind Tambura violence remains unclear, although state Governor Alfred Futuyo Karaba has accused four politicians in Juba of fueling the violence.

Futuyo later apologized for the allegations.

In a joint press statement issued on Monday, the Inter-church Council and Inter-faith Council for Peace Initiative in Western Equatoria said the situation in Tambura is worsening.

They stated that there is a rapid increase and expansion of the breakdown of the law and order in parts of the state.

“To our dismay, even in Yambio now -like yesterday a dead body was found on the road and today another person has been killed. So we are getting concerned.”

They are referring to the killing of the bodyguard of the state minister of health on Monday night, and a separate incident involving the killing of a civilian.

The clerics urged politicians to stop using the crisis to manipulate people using what they term as “irresponsible comments and incitement.”

“As the church, we are raising this concern to our state government, to our national government so that they can address this matter because people are just being killed and displaced,” said Samuel Enosa Peni is the Archbishop of Western Equatoria Internal Province of the Episcopal Church.

Last week, the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar convened a meeting in Juba with the political and military leaders of Western Equatoria State.

Among the resolutions, the meeting recommended the relocation of the SPLA-IO forces in Namatina and Zamoi to Rii-Rangu.

It also resolved that the forces loyal to General James Nando be relocated from Yambio Airstrip and Source-Yubo to Maridi under the direct command of the SSPDF Division Six.

General James Nando was directed to work jointly with Governor Alfred Futiyo Karaba to ensure the success of the relocation of the aforementioned forces.

Other key recommendations include the provision of food, healthcare, and repatriation of displaced persons affected by the violence in Tambura County to their homes.

The meeting also agreed to convene a conference in Tambura for the leadership and people of Western Equatoria to address their grievances.

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