National, News, Western Equatoria State

Catholic Bishop calls for a state of emergency over unrest

Kidega Livingstone


Catholic Bishop of Tambura-Yambio Diocese appealed to President Salva Kiir Mayardit to declare a state of emergency in Tambura after communal attacks.

Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala made the call following spate of attacks in Tambura County of Western Equatoria State that has displaced many people.

On Thursday, some bandits reportedly attacked Lingemo Boma, one of the villages in Tambura bordering the Central African Republic.

According to local authorities, one person was killed, and several houses were set aflame.

The same armed bandits allegedly attacked the residence of the Sub-Chief of the same area and burnt his home.

Meanwhile, on Friday, another attack was also reported in Tambura town, where several houses were torched, and one person was injured. This recent outbreak of communal clashes resulted in a wave of displacement in two areas of the county.

Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Luke Yugue and his driver, were on April 27, 2024, reported missing in Western Equatoria State.

His Lordship Bishop Hiiboro calls on the state government to find the whereabouts of the two people missing and also urges the Christian community to remain calm.

In his audio-recorded statements extended to the media over the weekend, Bishop Hiiboro Kussala asked President Kiir to use his powers as the head of state to bring peace to Tambura County.

“I am appealing to the President of the Republic of South Sudan because I cannot believe that in a given country people can go and kill each other, burn their houses, making others disappear because of violence, and all the structures of the government are there free looking, sitting, and watching at this,” he expressed.

“I cannot believe this, so I call on President Kiir to bring peace to Tambura,” the bishop stated. “Nobody else has to because he is the President of the Republic of South Sudan.”.

Hiiboro emphasized that President Kiir has all the power to restore sanity and peace in the restive Tambura region.

“I am asking the President to impose a state of emergency in Tambura. Nobody should be carrying guns, only those entitle to them, and bring discipline in order that peace can prevail in Tambura, and peace in Tomura is peace in all of Western Equatoria State and country at large.”

The Catholic cleric also appealed to the entire local leadership of Tambura and Western Equatoria State to be responsible for bringing peace to the area.

“I want to appeal to every person who lives in Tambura to be the first catalysts and people to work and bring peace there, the elderly and the young. For all of us who are responsible leaders in the communities, do all we can to make sure that peace comes to our area,” he urged.

In 2021, violence, mainly along ethnic lines, which activists believed was politically motivated, ravaged Tambura County and displaced nearly 80,000 people, with reports of civilians killed and others wounded.

Many of the people displaced fled to neighboring Western Bahr el-Ghazal State. An estimated 45,000 people had fled to Ezo County, with thousands of others moving to Yambio town, Nagero, Namutina, Wau, Nzara, and Mosso.

Some locals were also reported to have fled the violence last year and sought refuge in the Central African Republic.

The 2021 recurring violence witnessed people’s homes and livelihoods being destroyed.

As a result, President Kiir formed a high-level committee to investigate the root causes of the Tambura conflict and to seek a solution and an end to the violence that has reignited this month after some relative calm was experienced and locals returned to rebuild their lives.

However, efforts to reach local authorities in Tambura County and Western Equatoria State to get a clear picture of the events on the grounds, especially the latest updates, proved futile by press time as all known contacts of responsible officials were unavailable.

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