Equatoria chiefs threaten to use jungle laws to defend their ancestral land

Honorable Governor, let the government(s) not force us to take the law into our hands or use jungle laws to depend our ancestral land.”

A group of local chiefs from Gumbo, Tokiman, Loggo East and West, Kansuk, Gorom and Somba has presented a petition letter calling on the Central Equatoria state government to urgently resolve land grabbing, insecurity and cattle rustling or else they will resort to jungle laws to defend their ancestral lands.

“Hon. Governor, Emmanuel Adil Wani Governor, with great pain we are writing this letter in reference to our previous letters to both the national and the State governments in regards to an organized, systematical and persistence land grabbing, occupation, insecurity, child abduction, cattle herders and imposition of the new highways roads construction.”

“Hon. Governor, given the series of the above incidences and the high level of insecurity involved, we do here by emphasize that the following concerns are accorded immediate interventions.”

The following are the concerns raised by the Equatoria community leaders

Land Grabbing

• —The organized, persistent and systematic land grabbing and occupation is causing enormous disposition of our ancestral land; which is the only source of our community livelihood and existence.

• —Categorically we state that the current land grabbing and occupation in Rejaf Payam is orchestrated by armed individuals, internally displaced persons (IDPS), armed ethnic groups from Dinka Bor and Bahr El Ghazal including some top military officers from our organized forces.

• —We have noted with great dismay, that the land grabbers have been scrambling and competing to own, sellI, lease and sub-lease land they grabbed to enrich themselves and their families illegally. No longer an issue of lack of accommodation coupled with rampant insecurity paused by armed land immediate transfer and replace by our sons and daughters from Central Equatoria State.

• —In accordance to the prevailing Revitalized Peace agreement and the government commitment to implement the peace accord, we demand without prejudice for immediate repatriation of the IDPS from Rejaf Payam possibly to their areas of origin.

• —We also demand for immediate relocation of Capital City from Juba to Ramciel as stipulated in CPA and as passed by Council of Ministers meeting in December, 2011 chaired by H.E the President of the Republic.

• —Finally these issues have pushed us very far and have caused unbearable suffering to our communities. We trust and believe that your government will use its mandate and authority to address the issues mentioned above.

• —Honorable Governor, let the government(s) not force us to take the law into our hands or use jungle laws to depend our ancestral land. Hence, we will appreciate if the State Government could respond within a short period possible please!

Full Text: Statement from Akook Wol family on the death of Col. Lual Marine 

Press Statement

June 5, 2020 (Thessherald)–The family of Akook Wol Kiir would like to inform the general public on the facts surrounding the death of Col. Lual (Marine) Akook who succumbed to wounds he sustained in a violent attack on him and his guards in Shirkat Suburb of Juba. Lual passed away at Aspen Medical Clinic on the 3″ of June at exactly 10:00 PM, after he was hit several times on the neck and on the forehead.

The family is deeply devastated by the twisting and politicization of what transpired in Shirikat leading to the violence that claimed lives of people including that of Lual Marine. The highly falsified version of event put forth by the attackers of Lual that described him as a serial killer and land grabber seemed to have massively captivated public attention. It is for this reason that the family felt compelled to put forward its version of event supported by clear facts.

The incident began as a dispute over the ownership of a piece of the land where Lual had built shops in which he stored cement and other property. On the 2nd of June, 2020 (that was on Tuesday); Lual’s shops were demolished by Dinka Bor youth on the orders of Mr. Malith Yuol who claimed ownership of the same land. Malith had built, and up to the time of the incident, operated a commercial public toilet on the same very location of Lual’s shops.

When Lual Marine learned of the demolition of his shops, he brought legal action against Mr. Ajith Kuot who co-owned the public commercial toilet with Malith and had thus volunteered to face Lual in the court. The police issued an arrest warrant (the warrant of arrest is here attached to this statement) and the assigned police personnel accompanied Lual to where Ajith was.

When Lual and the accompanying police arrived, Sultan Mayen Dau, the Sultan of Dinka Bor in Shirikat; persuaded Lual to drop pursuing legal action and instead urged for settlement of the issue through diałogue. Lual, for such this reason, backed down and agreed to discuss the issue in the following morning.

On the earlier hours of the 3″ of June, 2020; Lual Marine arrived for a follow-up meeting with Ajith and Malith as proposed by Sultan Mayen. To the surprise of Lual and his guards, a huge number of Dinka Bor youth, armed with rifles, sticks and machetes flanked Gen. Garang Akook Adut, a Dinka Bor himself, who was present in the meeting purportedly on mediation role. The youth, before the incident, had been holding series of meetings for unclear reason in the house of Gen. Garang, seemingly about how to eliminate Lual Marine among other issues.

Lual didn’t know of underground ploy arranged to assassinate him. When Lual Marine arrived, he was accorded a seat. The guards, on the instruction of Lual Marine, remained behind in the car. Ajith Kuot, hiding behind Lual unnoticed, hit him with hammer on the neck and he loosely fell to the ground. It became crystal clear to Lual’s guards, who were still seated in the car that something was amiss.

They felt appalled and then sorted to intimidatingly disperse the marauding youth by firing to the sky with the intention to rescue their boss. The armed advancing youth started shooting at the guards and the battle thus ensued. Some innocent people got caught in cross-fire, and lives were lost. It is worth underlining to the public that the attacking youth held posters bearing slogans such as “LUAL MARINE MUST DIE TODAY.”

“KIIR MUST GO”, “THE REGIME MUST FALL”, to mention but a few. This plan was carefully hatched. The posters were not written in the aftermath of the incident. They carried them all along before Lual Marine was killed. As the fighting intensified, certain Gen. Majier Deng Kur was physically spotted among the violent Bor youth apparently commanding them. The family wishes to state that had Lual deliberately planned to kill, there is no way he could, accompanied by six guards, have been beaten to death with sticks without firing.

The firing happened afterward as a reaction from his guards upon seeing their boss fell on the ground and being heartlessly finished off. One of Lual’s guards got killed, one wounded and another still missing. Gen. Garang Akook, upon seeing Lual lying on the ground nearly dead, came out and shot three live bullets into the air detonating his satisfaction with the outcome of the violent and what he perceived a victory. He ordered the demolition of the house of Lual. His 2010 goats and other property were distributed among the youth.

Our people should therefore know that the incident was really not an accident. It was pre-planned judged by the political face attached to it. The rhetoric that Lual had faked his death to avoid reprimands and justice, or that he had been secretly flown to Egypt, indicate that the issue was not just a simple quarrel maturing into violence, but a conspiracy of the highest order. In conclusion, the family regrets Lual’s horrible death and strongly dismisses as white lies the allegations circulating on the social media about the alleged Gogrial and Awan Youth in particular, arming themselves and readying to advance on Dinka Bor-populated Shirkat to avenge the death of Lual Marine.

We have chosen to leave the matter into the hand of the law. We detest sectarian conflicts. It is only through the Law that anyone can obtain a just remedy. Lastly, the family is deeply sadden and dismayed by the statement of Thiik Thiik Mayardit (Thiik-Machar) to the SBS Radio in which he absolutely disowned Lual Marine and described him as a Criminal and an outlaw, and to which many people formed their view of Lual and the whole of the incident.

The public should know that Thiik, by the time of the interview, did not have full details about the violence. He was simply reacting to the political part of the incident- that is the demonstrations, and hence had to issue that statement hoping to calm and please the demonstrators.

The family regrets that Lual Marine could not overcome injuries so that he, Gen. Garang Akook, Gen. Majier Deng, Sultan Mayen Dau, Mr. Malith Yuol and Mr. Ajith Kuot could form the nucleus of justice for both sides of the conflict. We however remain hopeful that even in the absence of Lual Marine, the comprehensive justice for both sides shall prevail.

Signed on behalf of the family,
Sultan Monydeeng Akook Wol Kiir,