JDB laments lack of funds to relocate forces from Tombura

JDB laments lack of funds to relocate forces from Tombura
The team leader of the JDB, Gen. Wisely Welebe (left), during the visit of the Sector South Commander of UNMISS to Tombura. (photo credit: courtesy)

The Joint Defense Board (JDB) has decried lack of resources which it says has delayed the relocation of forces from the war-torn Tombura County.

The JDB said the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) under Gen. James Nando and Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) forces in Tombura are supposed to move to a unified training center in Maridi but lack of resources is still a hindrance.

The spokesperson of the JDB, Lam Paul Gabriel said the relocation process of the forces to the training center is still on hold as the body waits for resources.

“At the moment, we are in the process but we are still waiting for resources because there is no [nothing] at the moment to be able to move to the forces away from Tombura and once we receive the resources; we will make sure we move them,” Col. Paul said.

Last month, the peace monitors said the crisis in Tombura County of Western Equatoria State remained a serious concern as it poses a major threat to the implementation process of the 2018 peace accord.

In September, a monitoring body comprising the Ceasefire Transitional and Security Arrangement, Monitoring Verification and Mechanism (CTSAMVM), Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC), and the United Nations visited the area in a bid to restore peace and hope among the affected community.

However, the Minister of Information and Government Spokesperson Michael Makuei told the media last month that the conflict in Tombura and wrangles between SPLA-IO had been referred to the country’s Security Council in a resolution of the council of Ministers meeting.

A committee composed of the SPLM-IO, SSPDF, and SOA was sent to the area to diffuse tension between the rival armed youth and explore ways of relocating forces of Gen. James Nando and those of the SPLA-IO in Namatina Payam, northwest of Tombura County.

Lack of resource remains a major issue to implement provisions of the revitalized agreement including security arrangement that has taken over years.

Violence hit Tombura County when the inter-communal fight broke out in May this year, forcing thousands of people from their villages. Over 80,000 people had been displaced and several others killed.

Political leaders and elites from Western Equatoria State have been trading accusations against each other since the onset of the conflict in Tombura.

In June, Governor Alfred Futuyo pointed fingers at four politicians, among them the current Speaker of Parliament Jemma Nunu Kumba, the former governor of defunct Tombura State Patrick Raphael Zamoi, Members of Parliaments Pascal Bandindi and Saleh Sayid Uku for fueling conflict in the area.

The leaders distanced themselves with the blame and even threatened legal action against Fuyuyo forcing him to recant his earlier statement. 

Dr. Riek Machar held meetings between 12 to 14 July, with political and military leaders of Western Equatoria State to resolve the violence that occurred in Tombura County.