Logistical challenges delaying relocation of forces out of Tambura town; officials say
The information minister in Western Equatoria State on Sunday said logistical challenges are delaying the relocation of both SPLA-IO and armed youth loyal to the paramount chief out of Tambura town.
Minister William Adriano told Radio Tamazuj that all the forces are ready to move out of the town but are still waiting for the transportation.
“The relocation of the SPLA-IO, they are ready to move and they are only waiting for the logistical support in terms of transportation,” Minister Adriano said.
He pointed out that the relocation of the forces loyal to General James Nando is not under the state committee but is being handled by the Joint Defense Board (JDB).
“The relocation of the forces belonging to Nando is no longer under the state committee, it is under the national committee that came from Juba,” Adriano said. “The SPLA-IO stationed in Namatina, Zomoi and also the forces belonging to Nando and the militia under the paramount chief are now all waiting to implement the order which came from Juba to leave the town.”
For his part, the Tambura County commissioner, Mathew Mabenge, said the resolution by the national committee which came from Juba that the belligerent forces leave has seen some calm returning to Tambura town.
“They (national committee) are doing a better job, at least the situation is calm now and no more gunshots. The resolution they came with is that all forces involved must move out of Tambura town,” Commissioner Mabenge said.
He said the troops have currently assembled in one location and are ready to move out of the town to Maridi Training Centre.
Meanwhile, SPLA-IO spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel said the conflict in Tambura was not caused by their forces or the SSPDF but by the proliferation of small and light arms in the area.
“The cause of the clashes in Tambura is beyond the presence of our forces (SPLA-IO) in the area and because those guns that are used in the clashes are coming from the SPLA-IO SSPDF,” Col. Lam said. “What we know is that Western Equatoria has been armed a long time ago during the time of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) when they called themselves as Arrow Boys.”
According to Col. Lam, the clashes might not end even when the SPLA-IO and forces loyal to Gen. Nando who crossed to the SSPDF leave the area because the youth in the area are armed.
“Even if we move out these forces and we do not look at this as a national matter, I think these clashes will continue. What we want to show the world and especially the people of Western Equatoria is that we can move out these forces but in the end, the conflict may not stop because the conflict is beyond the presence of our forces in these areas,” Col. Lam said.
Lam called for dialogue among the people of the state to end the conflict and also urged the investigative committee on the ground to bring perpetrators to account.