Equatoria residents of Tambura woke up to deadly Clashes between rival forces loyal to South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) General. James Nando and the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army In Opposition forces (SPLA-IO) in Tambura County of Western Equatoria State this week which left one soldier dead and two others injured, officials claim.
In a statement earlier today, the fighting broke out between the forces on Monday morning after IO forces allegedly killed two men and were burning houses.
Tambura county commissioner Mathew Mabenge confirmed that on Monday, IO and the forces belonging to Nando clashed eight miles away from Tambura here when IO forces went and started burning, killing, and butchering two old men and burning houses. So the forces of Nando went to rescue the situation and the forces of IO started shooting but there were no more causalities
The current situation in Tambura has triggered wider concerns from the international body United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The international agency is deeply worried and concerned about the safety and wellbeing of children and other vulnerable people amidst conflict in the greater Tambura area in Western Equatoria State.
The fighting has displaced an estimated 40,000 people, with some 17,000 of them seeking refuge in the neighboring Ezo County. Additionally, several thousands of displaced persons are sheltering near the peacekeeping mission’s temporary operating base in Tambura.
The commissioner further confirmed that one soldier belonging to SPLM-IO was killed and two SSPDF soldiers were injured in the clashes. The injured soldiers have been transferred to Juba for treatment.
Mabenge said the situation has returned to normalcy after a meeting asking the forces to evacuate the town.
At the moment, there are a lot of protection concerns, especially for children, they are in a dire need of humanitarian assistance and are very vulnerable. However, the situation might lead to many things: one, it may increase incidents of sexual gender-based violence, especially among girls. It may also increase domestic violence and even criminality. Many children may be recruited by armed groups because we have been seeing armed youth around and we don’t know most of them.
In an exerted effort, international agencies are trying their best to prevent children’s rights from being violated, Child Protection and Human Rights Officers have been engaging with the organized forces in greater Tambura to create awareness on the Mission’s mandate, fundamental human rights principles, and the relation between the revitalized peace agreement and the need to keep boys and girls out of harm’s way.
Tambura needs urgent attention and commitment from all parties involved to rescue this challenging events. Once peace prevails, development cant be inevitable from happening.
This explains why making the organized forces understand the content of the peace agreement is vital to help bring a lasting peace in the region. A larger part of the peace deal focused on security arrangements is particularly important to implement without further delay.
With tensions tensions rising high, the UNMISS Force Commander, Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar, has however pledge that peacekeepers will continue to protect civilians in the area for a reasonable time.
For now, the situation seems to be normal because after a meeting held on Wednesday with both of forces. The Militants were given 72 hours to evacuate Tambura.
According to Mabenge, the forces have started evacuating since most of their troops were witnessed assembling their forces ready to leave the town.
However, the controversial SPLA-IO spokesperson Col. Lam Gabriel Paul said he had no information about the clashes, and said he has been unwell and is receiving treatment at a Juba hospital.
Tambura County has for the last few months witnessed violent clashes between the two rival forces, displacing hundreds of families.
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