THE ABSENCE OF PEACE IN GREATER TOMBURA
JUBA: 10TH MAY 2023. We, the MPs representing Greater Tambura in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), deeply concern about the continued insecurity, incitement of violent, and the allegations perpetrated by the governor of WES that the Azande have formed militia from the three (3) countries of DRC, South Sudan and CAR to fight those countries in order to create their own State. We hereby refute and condemned in the strongest term possible this baseless and malicious propaganda that does not serve the interest of peace in our country.
We can confirm that ever since the appointed of Governor of Western Equatoria State in 2020, the people of greater Tombura never experience peace but, unprecedented level of communal violence that has claimed over 400 innocent lives, destroyed public and private properties and displaced nearly 100,000 people to other neighboring counties.
We sadly noted that, during his first ever visit as governor to Tambura County in late 2020, the governor blamed the Azande people for instigating and causing insecurity in the County. We assure the public that this accusation is baseless and has no substantive evidence whatsoever. We submit that the allegation made by the governor amounts to incitement and hate speech in violation of Article 18.104.22.168 of the R-ARCSS, 2018 that prohibits offensive, provocative or retaliatory action such as dissemination of hostile propaganda, recruitment, mobilization, redeployment and movement of forces, except for administrative and logistical movement allowed under CoHA of 21st Dec. 2017. In WES, none of this provision has been observed.
It is worth noting that the Azande and other tribes including the balanda has lived together for at least 100 years since their arrival in Tombura during the reign of King Tomburo without any violent conflict. They inter marriage with each other, practice cultural and traditional conjugal rights and speaks Azande language.
This peaceful co-existent defined the Azande and indeed the people of WES for very long time. As stated correctly by one of the County Commissioners, ‘WES used to be green state’ for its peaceful nature and good governance but now, it has been turned to ‘blood state’ during the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in South Sudan, (R-ARCSS, 2018). The question is when will the people of greater Tombura find peace?
The governor’s failure to govern came as result of his inability to consolidate peace, unity and prosperity of the people of WES; he exhibits strong ethnocentrism, total lack of understanding of R-ARCSS, 2018 whereby he created his own version of the R-ARCSS of which cantonments and armed barracks are established in remote areas such as Namutina, sue, duma and Nadiangere to mention only but a few. These camps are outside the designated cantonments areas in accordance with the Peace Agreement. Despite complaint by local residents who blamed these military cantonments as being the sources of the insecurity and human rights abuses perpetrated by armed militia in Greater Tombura with impunity, these facilities remains intact and the governor continue to recruits, train and supply those facilities.
Since the conflict erupted in April 2021, in greater Tombura, it is obvious that the governor took sides with the Balanda against the Azande. For example, eye witnesses underlined that the governor supplies his Balanda IO militia with manpower, weapons, ammunitions and food to massacre the Azande. There were also other external forces involved in the killings of the Azande in Tombura. These forces includes, the Seleka rebels of CAR, the foreign armed Ambororo and IO tribal militia from WBGS. The fact that these foreign armed groups are allowed to operate freely and attacks south Sudanese citizens inside South Sudan territory is a blatant violation of Article 2.1.7 of R-ARCSS, 2018 which provides that the ‘Parties to the Agreement shall ensure that none South – Sudanese armed groups leave the country within the Pre-Transitional Period’. No one can explain why these armed foreign elements are still very much looming in WES and actively participating in hostile activities against civilian population. As a result of the concerted efforts of the governor in collaboration of the foreign armed groups and IO tribal militia, several prominent members of the Azande community including Hon. Charles Babiro, the former Commissioner of Tombura County were brutally killed in cold blood. Women, girl child were raped and elderly man aged 96 was not spared while several people were savagely slaughtered; this abominable state of affairs led to massive displacement of people to Ezo, Source Yubu, Nzara, Yambio and other neighboring areas in the vicinity.
Where does the SPLM/A (IO) governor get his fund from? Reliable sources alleged that the salaries of the government employees in the defunct States of (Amadi, Maridi, Gbudue and Tambura) have never been paid to them. These funds are deliberately utilized to bribe some heads of security organs in Western Equatoria State to support his clandestine evil activities and to sustain the private militia. Additionally, it is alleged that the salaries of the current civil servants are being deducted on monthly basis for his schemes which promotes conflicts and disunity among the communities in the State.
The governor goes around inciting other tribes against the Azande across Western Equatoria State. He has done this in rallies that were conducted in Maridi, Tambura, Source Yubu, Ezo and Yambio; during the aforementioned rallies, he publicly accentuated that the communities of Tambura and Ezo are rebels; he additionally argues that the Azande have resolved to create and establish their own nation (country) and that the Azande don’t like other people. While telling the people of Maridi that ‘the Azande are coming to kill them’. We would like to declare publicly that these are baseless and fabricated lies aimed to undermine the recently installed A Zande Kingdom and to tarnish the good image of the Azande people who embarrasses all tribes in WES and consistently stood firm in support of the current government under H.E President Salva Kiir Mayardit. With regards to the claim that the Azande wanted to create their own country and that they are rebels, we would like to assert that there is no reason whatsoever why the Azande would like to create their own country or form rebel groups to fight the government. The fact is that the Azande joined the SPLM/A since its inception (1983) and fought for the liberation and independence of South Sudan. So, together with the other south Sudanese, the Azande of South Sudan already have a country (The Republic of South Sudan).So why is the governor of WES claims that the Azande of South Sudan are rebels and wanted to establish their own country? Out of hate rate and tribal sentiment, he believes that by fabricating these lies, the three governments of South Sudan, DRC and CAR will fight against the Azande and so, other tribes will stood against the Azande people.
ON THE ONGOING CONFLICT IN BAMBUTI, (CAR),
The governor of WES is trading false interpretation of the conflict in Bambuti (Central African Republic) to create the impression that the Azande are bad people, and to justify his claim of the Azande wanting to create their own country at the expense of the three (3) governments of DRC, CAR and South Sudan he fabricated fake attacks on the SSPDF position in Source Yubu in order to drag South Sudan into a conflict that is actually internal matter for the government and people of CAR. The truth of the matter is that the Azande are found in CAR, DRC and South Sudan just like any other tribes that settles on the borders. These countries are independent states therefore, the conflict in Bambuti (CAR) is between the Azande people of CAR and the SELEKA (armed wing of Ambororo). The SELEKA / Ambororo illegally occupied Bambuti (Azande Land) for over 5 years, and in reaction to this illegal occupation, the Azande people of CAR resolved to take back their land from the invaders. So, the current conflict in Bambuti (CAR) is not connected with the Azande people of South Sudan but, an internal problem of another Sovereign country (CAR) that should never be imposed on the people of South Sudan.
WHY IS GOVERNOR FUTUYO FIGHTING THE AZANDE OF CAR ON BEHALF OF THE SELEKA?
According to reliable source, Governor Alfred Futuyo has a secret deal with the SELEKA / Ambororo and the remnants of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) which may eventually result in a noticeable combat between those “Armed Forces” and the government of South Sudan. Time will tell…
In recent days, the governor of WES sent the SSPDF to attack the Azande vigilante group (‘ANIGBI GBE”) meaning, we have died so much of CAR who took up arms to liberate their land (Bambuti) from SELEKA / Ambororo). We condemned this action in the strongest possible term and urged that there is no justification to send our national army to fight in another country without due process.
We, the representatives of the people (MPs) from Greater Tambura wants peace, unity and prosperity in our county therefore, for the interest of peace, we strongly and categorically recommend the Swapping of Western Equatoria State from SPLM/A –(IO) and handed over to the SPLM, SSOA or any other Party to the Agreement during the Transitional Period;
Immediate replacement of the current commander of Division 6 with his Deputy or any other Senior military officer commensurate to the position save that such officer cannot be compromise;
Immediate replacement of Operation commander and the transfer of SSPDF personnel who have been in Rii Yubu for more than 8 years. We believe that this is the right time to do so as local citizen have lost trust in them.
Send high level facts finding committee to Tombura to investigate the claim by the Governor. Such committee should proceed directly to Tombura to meet with citizens