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Residents accuse Juba authorities of selling their plots to army generals

Author: Charles Wote | Published: Thursday, November 19, 2020

File: Some of the evictees speak with Eye Radio's Charles Wote on Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 | Credit | Eye Radio

Some residents of the Hai-Game area in Juba have accused Juba City Council of illegally allotting their land to top government officials.

The latest incident happened on Tuesday when unnamed army general went to the area and allegedly ordered for the demolition of buildings on four plots he is claiming ownership.

Recently the Governor of Central Equatoria issued an order suspending new registration, processing and allotment of land in the state.

However, some of the affected population who spoke to Eye Radio yesterday blame some officials of Juba city council for allotting their plots to top army officials.

“The one who demolished our houses this morning is one of the generals from Tiger division. He said he bought the plots from Juba city council,” said a mother, who had been staying on the plot since 1992.

Tiger Division is comprised of soldiers who protect President Salva Kiir.

“They have allotted our plots to people who were not in this residential area before. They deployed armed soldiers here and they are using force to construct their houses. This is not good,” another evictee told Eye Radio.

Land ownership, land grabbing and land dispute in South Sudan is a major concern to many citizens.

In July 2019, Eye Radio reported that a Brigadier-General at the National Security Service entered the high court in Juba with his bodyguards and reportedly held the land registrar at gunpoint after a ruling did not favor him.

Right groups say land-grabbing remains a security threat committed by senior army and national security generals in South Sudan.

The transitional constitution stipulates that the land is owned by the people of South Sudan and its usage shall be regulated by the government.

According to sub-Article (1), and the provisions of Article 28 of the Constitution, the government at all levels, may take land in the public interest as shall be prescribed by law.

When contacted by Eye Radio, Martin Simon Wani, the acting chief executive officer of Juba city council said he had “no information”.

“I have to get information from our director of Juba block to tell us exactly what happened there or what is happening,” Wani stated.

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