Jemma Nunu Kumba, the Speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly in South Sudan, says the remains of many people killed in a wave of violence in the country’s Western Equatoria remain unburied.
Kumba said this before a new session of parliament, which for the first time since the end of the civil war includes both politicians from the governing party and former rebels.
“The ongoing killings in [Western Equatoria’s] Tambura County have led to a situation which has gotten almost out of hand,” said Kumba, who is from the south-western state.
According to her, nearly 400 homes were burned down and killings continued on a daily basis.
The conflict in Western Equatoria involves the neighbouring Balanda and Zande communities from the Tambura area. Tension between them has widened because rival factions are supporting different sides in the new unity government.
In the 2018 peace deal to end the civil war, it was agreed to divide South Sudan into ten states – and to share these between the opposing parties.
A governor from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) party was appointed for Western Equartoria in October, replacing a politician from the ruling party.
The replaced politician is from the Balanda tribe and he accuses prominent Zande politicians, such as Kumba, of fomenting trouble, allegations they deny.
Now Kumba has hit back alleging “savage rebels” are behind the latest violence, without specifying which group is responsible.
But her comments focus attention on a little-reported conflict in an area that borders the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
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