Tombura crisis remains ‘serious’ concern, says CTSAMVM
The inter-ethnic crisis in Tombura County of Western Equatoria State remains a serious concern and posing a major threat to the peace implementation process in the country, Maj. Gen. Teshome Gemechu Adire, Chairperson of the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement, Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) has warned.
Maj. Gen. Gemechu urged peace granters IGAD and RJMEC to double their efforts in pushing parties to the agreement to ensure the cessation of hostilities to resolve the clashes that have claimed dozens of lives.
“Regarding the permanent ceasefire, CTSAMVM has identified no verified clashes between the party signatories to the R-ARCSS. However, as discussed at the last board meeting, the level of violence in the Tombura area and its potently detrimental impact in the peace process remains a very serious concern,” he said.
“CTSAMVM calls on IGAD and RJMEC to urge the parties to the agreement to ensure their forces do not get involved, and that all stakeholders work for a peaceful resolution,” said Maj. Gen. Gemechu.
Tombura County descended into violent conflicts in June, resulting in the displacement of more than 80, 000 people and left them in dire need of humanitarian assistance, the majority of them are women, children, and elderly groups.
The exact causes of the violence remained unclear. However, politicians from the county have been trading blames on the sponsors of the ongoing violence.
In July, Governor, Gen. Alfred Futuyo accused four prominent politicians serving in the national government of fueling the conflict, but the leaders denied the accusations.
A recent report by the UN Human Rights Commission also claims that the conflict in Tombura was facilitated by armed political groups in the country, including those in the government.
Early this month, a committee composed of the Joint Defense Board (JDB) 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.
The peace monitoring body comprised the CTSAMVM, RJMEC, and the United Nations (UN) were also in the area early this month in a bid to restore peace and hope among the affected community.
On Friday last week, Minister of Information and Government Spokesperson Michael Makuei told the media that the conflict in Tombura and wrangles between SPLA-IO had been referred to the country’s Security Council.
“The issues of Kit-Gwang and the Tombura, because these ate security issues, have been referred to the Security Council for consideration, Makuei told journalists last Friday.
However, according to Maj. Gen. Gechemu, CTSAMVM could not access the violence level in Magenis due to the proximity of the area to the Sudan border.
“Also, concerning the permanent ceasefire, CTSAMVM has been monitoring the situation in the Magenis area as closely as possible and calls on both factions of the SPLM/A-IO to refrain from any further violence.
Because the area concern is cross border, permission from the Government of Sudan is required before the planned IGAD-led fact-finding mission can go ahead.” Maj. Gen. Gechemu said.