Juba, South Sudan,
July 20, 2021 – A senior official from Western Equatoria State says residents are fleeing to neighboring countries for safety amid intense gunfire that caused a trail of destruction in Tambura County.
A statement attributed to Eng. Charles Kisanga who led the South Sudan People’s Patriotic Front that was leading a section of Arrow boys before ceasing hostility in 2016 says gunfire started Monday and dragged on the whole day.
“Heavy gunfire engulfed Tambura yesterday from morning to evening and even the hospital in Tambura is rumored to have been torched in the gunfire exchange in the town,” the statement reads partly.
It says the recent defection of Joseph Bakosoro from the National Movement for Change to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement has not changed the course of the ongoing crisis to a positive trajectory.
“The defection of Hon. Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro to the SPLM seems not to cool the situation but is like it is adding more fuel. This despite the visit to Tambura by so-called leaders of Tambura and WES which included Hon. Bakorsoro and Jemma Nunu Kumba, a week before,” it says.
The statement attributed to the official also says residents from Yambio were also spending nights away from their homes as they fear for their lives.
“In Yambio, all the residents especially the notables are living in great fear and most go to sleep in different locations every night. Yesterday Health Minister of WES current government who is from IO had his house under gunfire and he fled while his bodyguard was gunned down,” the statement claims, a further warning to other senior people like the doctor at Yambio hospital that they would be killed as many people run away from YAMBIO,” it claims.
“The doctor in Yambio had earlier fled to Juba because of the threat to his life which he received even in written form. The hospital in Yambio is almost closed with no soul to be found around as people are scared to be the next target since the doctor cannot be spared,” the statement added.
“In the meantime, civilians are bearing the brunt with hundreds of houses torched in Tambura and adjacent counties and hundreds displaced with no food and services. Some are already crossing to DRC and CAR while in Juba, it is just business as usual,” the statement says.
Tambura has been in crisis since June. Senior politicians at the national and state levels have been pointing fingers and accusing each other of fuelling the violence.