Gen. Nando flees Tombura for Safety after heavy gunfire
The Western Equatoria State-based Gen. James Nando has reportedly escaped from Tombura County and his whereabouts remain unknown.
The Western Equatoria State Minister of Information William Adriano revealed that Gen. Nando’s disappearance came after his forces were ambushed by the armed youth at a place called Source-yubu- a few kilometers from Tombura when they were heading towards Azzo County.
“Generally, the situation in Western Equatoria is still tough because last night on the side of Tombura there was an armed confrontation at around 9 pm between Gen James Nando (forces) and the armed youth under Angelo David,’’ Adriano told the City Review in a telephone interview yesterday.
He revealed that the fight erupted after the deputy division commander of SSPDF was tasked to facilitate the relocation of Nando’s forces out of Tombura territory much to the displeasure of Nando.
Baiki accused Gen Nando of escaping from the area to avoid being relocated as per the directives issued to the deputy division commander of SSPDF assigned the duty.
According to the Western Equatoria State authority, the deputy division commander of SSPDF was in Yambio and was scheduled to proceed to Tombura either on Thursday on Friday to relocate the forces of Nando.
“So when he heard the deputy commander of SSPDF was going to relocate him last night (Wednesday), he decided to escape out from Tombura,” Adriano stated.
“He left Tombura yesterday without telling anybody when it was raining heading towards Azzo before reaching Source-yubu just a few kilometers away from Tombura then he fell into an ambush so there was heavy gunfire,” he explained.
According to Mr. Baiki, reports at their desks are that there were many casualties due to the heavy exchange of gunfire between the fighting forces.
“We are following because there is no network where the incident happened and there are no people unless we send security team from Tombura to go and verify what happened last night.
“So this morning, Nando is nowhere to be found. I am told he is in source-yubu but he is not in source-yubu. He is an unknown location,” Adriano stressed.
He lamented Nado’s escape saying everything was in place including the trucks to facilitate the transfer of forces.
“The trucks were here ready to proceed together with the deputy division commander but it was to our surprise that when our logistical support was ready, Nando was also escaping so that the deputy commander should not get him,” Adriano told the paper.
However, the minister said on the same night, a resident was also attacked at 1 am by armed criminals.
“My bodyguards have managed to arrest one of the attackers who confessed that he belongs to the Gen Nando [forces]. This is something confirmed he mentioned also those who were with him,” Adriano said.
When contacted by The City Review over the matter, the spokesperson of SSPDF Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang said the headquarters of SSPDF had not received any official report about the fresh fight in Tombura. Maj. Genn Koang further added that they were yet to receive any information pertaining to the alleged disappearance of Gen. James Nando.
Last week, the Joint Defense Board (JDB)—a body tasked by the 2018 peace agreement to exercise command and control over all forces during the pre-transitional period—said lack of funds had delayed the process of relocating forces of SPLM/A-IO and those Gen. James Nando from Tombura.
The forces were supposed to be relocated by a military committee that was sent to the area by JDB. The committee that comprised generals from SPLM/A-IO, SSPDF, and SOA was formed by JDB to calm the tension in Tombura following a directive from the presidency when the fighting first erupted in the area in May this year.
According to a report by the UN, the fight has displaced over 80,000 people who took safety in church compounds and schools, and several others got killed in the crossfire.
The peace monitors have also visited Tombura to assess the security situation and have said the situation in the area is a national concern that requires immediate intervention of both the state and national government to calm it.