Western Equatoria governor publishes state update
The Governor of Western Equatoria, Alfred Futuyo Karaba, has published a statement detailing the general political, security and socio-economic situation in the state.
Released by the Governor's press office, the statement outlines a number of key areas that Futuyo's administration hopes to focus on in coming months. In particular, Futuyo notes that the State Cabinet has been sworn in without issue, and all county commissioners are working effectively.
The security situation in the state is discussed at length, as Futuyo notes the prevalence of armed groups and proclivity of certain areas to agricultural violence. Despite this, he suggests a number of solutions including reform of the Criminal Investigation officials and peace conferences.
More widely, he also appeals to the central government to expedite the formation of the South Sudan Unified Forces.
The full statement is published below:
Press statement on General Situation in the State
Press Governors Office
Western Equatoria State
The Governor of Western Equatoria State (WES) would like to thank the President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit and his First Vice President Dr. Riech Machar for their trust vested onto him and appoint him as the Governor of WES.
Since Hon. Lt. Gen. Alfred Futuyo Karaba was appointed as the Governor of Western Equatoria State, he is now 10 months in office having worked alone in the State for 8 months during which The Governor managed and united the 4 Defunct States back under 1 State government. It was a great joy when Deputy Governor Hon. Dr. Gaaniko Kennedy Baime was appointed and he immediately joined him in running the work for State Affairs. One month later, the State Cabinet was established of which State Advisors, Ministers, Independent Commissions and County Commissioners with exception of State Members of Parliament and County Counselors were all sworn into their respective offices and deployed immediately.
The County Commissioners were accompanied to their respective counties as delegated by Hon. Governor, the team of Eastern Counties Ibba, Maridi, Mvolo, Mundri West and Mundri East was accompanied by the State Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement Hon Elia Box, and the western Counties Nzara, Ezo, Tambura and Nagero County Commissioners were accompanied by the State Minister of Cabinet Affairs Hon. John Barayona Furula. Both delegates submitted to the Governors Office a successful report that they have accomplished their assignment with no interruption and well done.
All the Ministers have taken their offices and are on work plan for the development of the State.
There are few areas where insecurity is reported.
In Tambura, it has been reported that 13 people have been killed in the last 2 months, and this report prompted Governor to decide to go to Tambura County to acquaint himself with the situation on the ground. For this reason last week, the Governor and the delegations traveled to Tambura to resolve the situation.
What the delegation found and familiarized themselves on the ground is there are people who are used by the senior politicians in Juba to kill people in Tambura as an attempt to tarnish the image of current State Government for her failures and inability to provide the security to the citizens of the State.
The Investigation Department CID who was formed by the previous Government of Defunct Tambura State is suspected to be behind all what is happening in Tambura.
It was also found out that there is tension between Balanda and Zande on the leadership of special Traditional Leadership which was there since before the current leadership but has not reached to the extent of killing civil population.
In Mundri East there is presence of Mundari from Central Equatoria who have come in group with number of cattle and they are armed, the group is destroying the farm of the citizens in the area giving fear and is creating insecurity. It has been reported several times to the Governor of Central Equatoria State and we are yet to receive his feedback on the destruction inflicted by the Mundari cattle herders in WES.
At the same time, there is the presence of those who rejected the peace talk in Khartoum in 2018 called National Salvation Front (NAS), under the command of Thomas Cyrilo. They are ambushing, looting and killing the innocent civilians who are travelling on the road between Mundri and Juba. We have got some report that they are planning to attack Katiba in Mundri East County
In Yambio County there is a group who defected from the SPLA-IO and joined the South Sudan People Defense Force SPLM-IG about two years ago, calling themselves “Special Forces” and it was known to everyone in the State. That group are the one looting and killing people in Yambio County, in which some of them have been arrested in police custody over criminal allegation. The same group also went over social media and declare war and threaten the Governor, but it is not clear whether they are against the State or the National Government, as they are part of SSPDF would it be that it is the state who has not given them services or those whom they defect to are not taking care of them? All in all it creates fear to the citizens and cause insecurity in the area
Proposed solution to the above insecurities
In Tambura, the State Government is going to change all those Criminal Investigation CID who were formed by the previous Government and replace them with others from different Counties, at the same time the Governor will organise the Peace Conference for the two Tribes of Balanda and Zande to unite chiefs and their citizens as soon as possible.
In Mundri West and East the Hon. Governor of Western Equatoria State have reported to the governor of Central Equatoria State (CES) several times but since he has not call for his people who are looting and killing the citizens of WES. He continues to ask the Governor of CES why he does not address this case since we are one as Equatorians. In a few days to come Hon. Governor Alfred Futuyo will go to the area where those cattle keeper of CES are destroying farm to address the case amicably.
Still in Mundri East, the Governor is warning NAS to stop ambushing the road and killing those innocent civilians, and he has asked the Government to graduate the forces in the training because they are escaping from the training and hiding in unknown places. If they are graduated the Governor thinks they will be able to control NAS movement in the State
Finally on the insecurity in the State, the Hon. Governor Futuyo would like to appeal to the National Minister of Peace and the Government of South Sudan to speed up the graduation of the Unified Forces who are in the training so that they rest in cantonment area are transfer for the second batch. After that, the government will be able to control the security situation, because there will be no any other force who will cause insecurity in the area.
The Governor also wants the government to look after the army he knows they are taking care of, but not fully, because if the soldier is receiving 1500 SSP how will it help him and his family, if someone is having gun and nothing for him to eat if will lead him to loot and cause insecurity.
Road infrastructure is very poor but the Governor is appealing to the National Government of South Sudan to rehabilitate the main road since it is the role of Nation Government so that the state can work on feeder roads.
The above are the situations which The Governor of Western Equatoria State Hon. Lt. Gen. Alfred Futuyo Karaba thinks if resolved things will move well, we want be close to civilians and Hon. Governor greet you all we meet another time.
Alex Daniel Digi
Western Equatoria State