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Return and rebuild Malakal town, VP urges residents

Author: Joakino Francis | Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga joins worshipers during the installation and consecration of the Most Reverend Dr. Stephen Nyodho Ador as Bishop of Malakal Diocese on Sunday 28 July, 2019. PHOTO: Joakino Francis/Eye Radio

The Vice President is calling on the people of Malakal to return home and engage in developmental activities that will restore what was destroyed by the war.

Dr. James Wani Igga also urged those who have illegally occupied displaced people’s homes in Malakal to vacate them immediately.

Malakal is one of the towns in Central Upper Nile that have been greatly affected by the five-years conflict.

The town was engulfed in series of battles between government forces and the opposition, SPLA-IO. Both sides fought for the control of the town -a lifeline to the oil fields and river transport.

In 2014, a civilian militia group known as the “White Army” swept through the town killing, destroying social amenities and displacing thousands of people into the UN camps and swampy areas.

The government troops were also accused of indiscriminate killings, destruction of homes and displacement.

“Where are we going to start now to build Malakal? This is a heavy work which they started a long time ago, now we have gone back 100 years,” Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga said on Sunday after assessing the destruction caused by the war in Malakal.

This is the first such trip to the town by a high ranking government official since 2013.

The VP was in the town to witness the consecration of the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Malakal, Stephen Nyodho Ador.

Currently, 17,435 people, mostly women and children have been sheltering at the Protection of Civilian site in Malakal.

A recent report by the Refugee International organization indicates that homes of the displaced have been illegally occupied – mostly by some elements in the organized forces.

Following the 2013 conflict and its resumption in 2016, millions of people were displaced from their homes.

Armed personnel reportedly took over their properties, including schools and churches, while others forcefully evicted the civilians who remained behind in the conflict-affected areas.

Those in the UN camps and outside the country have refused to return to their homes in Wau, Bor, and Juba and along Nimule highway – citing the presence of soldiers in their areas.

According to the revitalized peace agreement, all parties shall not occupy or damage any public or community property and infrastructure – including schools, hospitals, business centres, places of worship and any other vital installations.

The peace accord also stipulates that the parties shall withdraw from any of these areas that they have occupied.

“Those who are still occupying people house, please leave the houses and give them back to the owners,” Dr. Igga ordered.

He said this will encourage people of Malakal to return and resume their normal lives.

“Now that peace has come, our people -the refugees and those in the POCs in Malakal will not look beautiful unleash you come back to your house,” he added.

Last month, in its report, the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism said both government and opposition forces are still occupying civilian buildings.

CTSAM-VM revealed that the SSPDF is still occupying 52 civilian buildings while the SPLA-IO is occupying two in the country.

Most of these illegally occupied buildings are in the Upper Nile and Equatoria regions.

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