Tambura unrest: 80,000 IDPs in dire need of humanitarian assistance
The commissioner of Tambura County in Western Equatoria State has said the recent conflict in the area has displaced over 80,000 people from their homes and they are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj Wednesday, Commissioner Mathew Mabenge said out of the county’s population of 84,000 people, only 4,000 remain in their homes while the other 80,000 took sanctuary in the UNMISS collective protection site, schools, churches, military barracks while others fled to neighboring counties and Western Bahr el Ghazal State.
He however said that the situation was slowly normalizing with people cautiously moving about and accessing their gardens to harvest food.
“Around 80,000 people have been displaced because the county has a population of about 84,000 but now there are only 4,000 people in Tambura. 80,000 are not there,” Commissioner Mabenge said. “The civilians are now moving to their gardens collecting their food but since the conflict erupted, they have not received any humanitarian assistance.”
He added that the displaced people were exposed to the elements and suffering due to the rainy season.
For his part, the state’s information minister, William Adriano, confirmed the number of the IDPs and said it has been corroborated by UNMISS.
“I can confirm that based on the report from UNMISS that 80,000 people have been displaced so far and since they (UNMISS) are the very people getting the statistics of the displaced people, I can confirm that it is true because a lot of people have been displaced,” Adriano said.
He said the IDPs had fled to far-flung areas within and outside the state.
“Currently we have people in Ezo which is about 54 miles away. We also have three IDP camps in Tambura; the UNMISS operation base, Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, and the SSPDF barracks. We also have people in Namatina which is about 45 miles west of Tambura and other people ran to Nagero,” he added.
Minister Adriano pointed out that despite an assessment visit by the WFP, no relief aid has reached the IDPs and called for aid agencies to expeditiously intervene.
Tambura County has for the last few months witnessed violent clashes involving elements of the SPLA-IO and forces loyal to Gen. James Nando who defected from the SPLA-IO to the SSPDF last year. Observers have also blamed rivalry by politicians who hail from the county for the clashes which have at different times seen the Zande and Balanda tribes clash.