Tombura Community commit to unity during Wau prayer service

Tombura Community commit to unity during Wau prayer service
National Minister Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro and WBGS Governor Sara Cleto walk during arrival at Wau airport. [Photo by Cliff John Ochaya]

Leaders from Western Equatoria State have attended a prayer for peace organised by the Tombura community who are living in Wau, Western Bahr el-Ghazal  State.

In attendance were the national Minister of Public Service, Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro, and other officials from Western Equatoria State who were invited by the governor of Western Bahr el-Ghazal State, Sarah Cleto.

Speaking at the event, Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro, who hails from Western Equatoria State, commended Governor Cleto for inviting him and the delegation to attend the prayer service with Tombura community.

 “Western Equatoria and Western Bahr el- Ghazal are sisterly states. We belong to the same ethnic group. So it is my privilege to come and join her and the church in Wau to pray for peace among our people and to seek reconciliation, forgiveness, and to give them hope,” he said.

“Our people lost hope during the conflict, but things can go wrong and can [also] be amended. We would like to return to our glory of the unity of the people of Tombura. We are here to give our people hope, to pray with them, and to show them solidarity for what has gone wrong,” Bakosoro said.

Bakosoro said people in Tombura had lost hope as a result of the conflict. He advised them to be calm and embrace one another.

“Things may not be fluent and perfect every time in every community,” he stressed.

“There are times for bad things to happen, and there are times for reconciliation to take place. We need each other, and there is no way one ethnic group will live in Tombura. We need to be together, ” Bakosoro said.

“The Azande community and the Balanda must live together in Tombura. [It] belongs to all of us. Anybody who may think that he or she can destroy one community, that will not happen because we do not need war, we need peace, and we must live together, ” he emphasised.

“This is the message I would like to pass to our people in Wau, and whoever hears me, please, we need reconciliation. We need to return to our co-existence and live as one people, one nation, one people, one county, and one state,” Bakosoro further added.

Governor of Western Bahr el-Ghazal State, Sara Cleto, praised the community of Tombura living in Wau.

She said it was crucial for the state’s peaceful coexistence.

“Some of the members from Tombura were born here, and grew up here, so they are part of our state. That is why we thought [that] it is very important that we all come together and pray for peace and ensure that we are living as we used to leave in greater Bahr-el- Ghazal,” Cleto said.

 According to a United Nations report, the fighting in Tombura, which began in May 2021, displaced over 80,000 people and killed more than 200 people.

Politicians from the area were accused of creating violence, which has been defined as a communal war between two ethnic groups that have lived in the area for decades.