Equatorian soldiers ‘disarmed’, troops sent to Terekeka
Courtesy of Radio Tamazuj,
July 3, 2014(RT) — Central Equatoria Governor Clement Wani Konga appeared publicly yesterday for the first time after reports of tensions between him and the president. In remarks to the press, he denied mobilizing his own militia while also questioning ongoing disarmament of Equatorians in the armed forces, which he claimed was ongoing.
The defiant governor stated, “Nobody can sit on my head. Nobody can sit on the head of Equatorians.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of SPLA troops arrived from the capital Juba to Konga’s hometown of Terekeka on Wednesday night, a local source there told Radio Tamazuj.
“Me I am not afraid. Nobody can sit on my head. Nobody can sit on the head of Equatorians. We are all equal. What good will you get by killing your brothers in cold blood?”
“And all these activities have indicated, have shown themselves, there is disarmament going on now against the Equatorians, those who are in the police, those who are in the army. Can one tribe or two tribes make a nation? No. South Sudan is for us all,” said Konga.
This comes after rumors that a large body of forces recruited from Konga’s Mundari tribe are planning to attack Juba, a claim denied by Konga.
“The first allegation that brought tension to Juba was concerning the Mundari people, that the Mundari people mobilized themselves and they are coming to attack Juba. As a result, our brothers [i.e., the Dinka] started arming themselves inside Juba city – but this rumor was created so as to cause disunity among the people of South Sudan,” said the governor.
The governor confirmed, however, that some Equatorians troops had left the organized forces but denied responsibility for this, saying the army had neglected them.
He stressed that he had recruited Equatorians for the army, not urged them to desert, referring to a brigade of 6,000 troops that he said he had helped to mobilize. He said, “Unfortunately they are not treated well, they are left as Equatoirans. Six have died of hunger. They have only the AK-47.”
“It is the duty of the army to maintain them,” he said, insisting he could not control them himself. “The defections taking place, is it caused by me? No.”
Konga also stated that some Equatorians within the Tiger Battalion – President Kiir’s personal guard – have been recently disarmed.
“I don’t have forces in the Presidential Guards. The forces who are in the presidential Guards, these were a balance of the old forces, both SPLA and the former Sudanese army… What I discussed with the commander was why at this time you are removing – asking the Equatorians to hand over some of the equipment you have. And I told him that after my coming we shall sit and discuss with him.”
‘I will not accept federalism that is brought through blood’
The governor denied wanting to oppose President Kiir by force. “Such kind of wild rumors should be brought to an end. As for us Equatorians, we have kept President Salva. It is us who protect him.”
“Since my return from Germany in 2012. It is not a Dinka who is keeping Salva in power. It is us the Equatorians. And we have been disliked because of our frankness, then there is something wrong.”
The Central Equatoria governor also refused to back down on his demand for federalism, which some in Kiir’s SPLM-Juba faction have criticized, saying it is not the right time to discuss it. But he said, “I will not accept federalism that is brought through blood.”
Troops dispatched to Terekeka
In Terekeka County, north of Juba, the head chief Alfons Modi Lado said, “The situation is calm and there is no problem. There are no militia that gathered,” he said, while confirming that government troops arrived from the capital and stationed themselves in the county.
“Just a little while ago some government troops arrived just outside Terekeka town and took positions. But they are just stationary and normal, there is no problem between the Mundari tribe and the government.”
He put the number of troops at 300 or more, explaining that they came by the main road from Juba in about ten vehicles. They are about 12 kilometres from the county seat.
“That is the government army, and we have no problem with the government,” he said, speaking for the people and traditional leaders of the area. “Those are our people. We don’t have any problem with it.”
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