The Western Equatoria State government and SPLA-IO defector Gen. James Naando on Tuesday held a meeting and agreed that the state government will help in assembling, training, and deploying the latter’s forces within the state.
In March 2020, Gen. James Nando, with a horde of soldiers, declared that he had defected to the SSPDF and put in his lot with President Salva Kiir. His forces have however been blamed for causing insecurity in the state for over a year now.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Governor Alfred Futuyo, said the state government together with Gen. James Naando agreed to mobilize and train the former SPLA-IO forces. He called on the national government to expedite the graduation of unified forces or approve the state to do so and deploy them.
“People have said a lot of things and that Governor (Futuyo) and (Gen.) James Nando have a problem. For us, we have no problem. Since Nando came from Juba five days ago, he is safe. We are fine because the security is okay,” Governor Futuyo said. “He came to organize the forces he defected with. So, today we have agreed with him that the state will support him in the mobilization of his forces, not his forces but the forces of the nation and the state., Others will be in the police service, Wildlife, prisons, and others will go to the army. That is what we agreed. Even though there are many, we have to bring them all.”
He added: “We also appeal to the national government, for those who are left in the cantonment of the SPLA-IO. If there is no possibility for the graduation of forces, let them give us a chance as a state to mobilize, train and deploy them so that our state is safe and no one points fingers again.”
For his part, Gen. James Naando confirmed that he returned to the state to mobilize his forces and said he had no personal problem with the governor but that politicians were the ones fomenting chaos.
“I came to Yambio with the Division commander of the SSPDF to organize the forces. All the time they said pro-Nando forces, so I want to tell you they are not my forces but for the nation,” Gen. Nando explained. “So, today we had a meeting with the state government to give us an okay to do the mobilization and they (government) have accepted. We are now going to work and all the forces will be organized. The police, prisons, National Security, and others will each take their soldiers as we discussed and agreed.”
He added: “No one has a problem, neither me nor the governor. For us we have no problem, it is politicians who want to destroy the state.”
The meeting at State Secretariat was attended by Governor Alfred Futuyo, Deputy Governor Dr. Kennedy Gaaniko, and Gen. James Nando, the SSPDF Division 6 commander, SPLA-IO Western Equatoria State Division commander, state police commissioner, National Security Director, and other organized forces.