Tombura wants SPLA-IO sent to cantonment site

Tombura wants SPLA-IO sent to cantonment site

Tombura County commissioner Mathew Mabenge (Photo; courtesy

The commissioner of Tombura County, Mathew Mabenge, raised concerns about the presence of the SPLA-IO forces within the town, urging that the officers should be taken to the cantonment site in Mundri County.

Mabenge claimed that some of those SPLM-IO forces were stationed in Bangau yet it is not a cantonment site.

“We have tried our level best but the only solution is to come to take them away from here,” he told The City Review in an interview yesterday.

The commissioner claimed the forces have been threatening to disrupt the proposed peace conference scheduled for next month in Tombura.

“The conference is supposed to be in March but the same people (SPLM-IO) are now moving into the area threatening people that the conference will not take place, that they will disorganise it.”

“The reason that they (SPLM-IO) don’t want to see Azande in Tombura and also that if we need peace, the Tombura be divided into two which is not a genuine reason even and it’s something that cannot happen,” Mabenge claimed.

He added, “When I sent the report (to state authority), it was just there pending; no positive response. My suggestion is we let the national government speed up to at least collect these people for the second training. Leaving them behind here will create insecurity and it will provoke a situation and even the election will not materialise in the right channel.”

Meanwhile, the SPLM-IO spokesperson in Western Equatoria State, Maj. Costa Joseph denied the allegations against the forces.

He said, “We don’t have a cantonment area in Tombura County. There is no SPLM-IO force in Tombura. We have our cantonment in Nagero County, one in Bamoi and Namatina.”

 “If it’s the issue of the conference, the conference is between Zande and Balanda and not between SPLM-IO and Zande or Balanda. We are government; all our forces are in cantonment waiting for the second phase. We even want the conference so that people can move freely,” Costa added.

Last year, the South Sudan Council of Churches planned for a peace conference in Tombura County to resolve the conflict between the Azande and Balanda tribes.

Violent conflict erupted between the two communities in mid-2021 and claimed hundreds of lives while entire villages were displaced and property destroyed.