A group of mainly women residents with traditional drums chanting traditional songs of invasion and conquer by municipality authorities on Monday marched to the State Legislative Assembly to deliver their concerns.
“Our coming here to you state legislators is because you are our eyes and our voices as we voted for you,” Abuk Nyok Ujith, One of the demonstrating residents told members of the state lawmakers.
“We are here to bring to your attention our heartfelt concerns of anger and oppression. We are cleared off [demolished] from our homes and left hanging and not shown where to relocate to. We are here to ask our government of where we belong. We know that we belong here.”
“They just popped up one morning where they found most of us out of homes. We had gone looking for our daily source of income and they started this mess.” Most of the residents are believed to be returnees, victims of 2008 flood who are believed to have been in those plots for more than eight years.
“We the residents of Maper Akot are humbly writing to present our complaints against the town council committee to you. The committee came to our area without knowledge and began distributing our allocated plots to other people, claiming to be demarcating with intentions of targeting our reserved free space,” demonstrators’ joint memo partly reads.
Mayor Atak Longar however denied the allegations of Maper residents. He said the accusations are completely baseless. “I have the jurisdiction as a town mayor to re-demarcate and re-assess old and un-surveyed plots which I have just done in this case,” said Atak.
“Those plots were not owned but they were temporarily given to them by the government and government has right to take them back anytime.” Land grabbing remains high in most parts of South Sudan due to increase in population from 2011 to 2014.