South Sudan opposition forces withdraw from restive region
The Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) has pulled out of the restive Tombura region of Western Equatoria State, where violence has displaced over 80,000 people since July.
Machar’s soldiers, who had been battling with the local population with the help of the South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF), retreated from the region on Tuesday, according to William Adriano Baikai, Western Equatoria state minister of communications.
Since the war began this year, over 200 individuals have died as a result of the violence.
“Two days after the Joint Defense Board ordered their departure, the (SPLA-IO) troops left Tombura town,” Adriano told Xinhua by phone from Tombura.
Forces commanded by SPLA-IO commander James Nando, however, have refused to leave Tombura, he said.
In July, First Vice President Machar and political and military officials from Western Equatoria state decided to transfer SPLA-IO troops from Namatina and Zamoi to the Rii-Rangu region, after a meeting between them.
They also decided to move Nando’s supporters from Yambio Airstrip and Source-Yubo to Maridi.
According to Adriano, Nando’s supporters are resisting a government order to leave a military base near Tombura.
“As I speak, the SPLA-IO troops in Namatina have departed two days ago, and the only forces in Tombura belong to Nando,” he added.
The SSPDF has sent a team to Tombura to remove Nando’s troops from the region, he added.
“The deputy division commander of the SSPDF in Maridi arrived in Yambio on Monday night, and they will be moving troops belonging to Nando to Maridi today (Tuesday),” he added.
The execution of a 2018 renewed peace agreement, which involves the graduation of 83,000 united troops to take control of security during the current transitional phase, has yet to be completed.