Home | News    Tuesday 27 January 2009

Squatters demolitions in Juba begins amidst tight security

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By James Gatdet Dak

January 26, 2009 (JUBA) – The earlier announced demolitions of squatters targeting mostly residential areas which lands were illegally occupied through grabbing have begun on Monday in the semi-autonomous Southern Sudan’s capital, Juba.

Central Equatoria state governor, Maj. Gen. Clement Wani Konga, last week announced that the authority would begin the demolition exercise to “recover grabbed lands and squatters” in the capital. The state government gave residents of the areas targeted seven days of “grace period,” which expired on January 25, to move out of the areas.

The demolitions targeted squatters in Juba Na Bari, Tongping, Jebel Dinka, some markets, squatters around late Dr. John Garang’s mausoleum and petrol stations constructed in residential areas and near Juba International Airport, among others.

Residents affected generally complaint of what they said was too little time of grace period given to them to evacuate their shops and houses.

A number of bull dozers began on Monday to demolish shops and houses in selected areas amidst deployments of security forces involving the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs), SPLA military police and the Southern Sudan and Central Equatoria Police around the demolition sites.

It is not yet clear what the government is planning to do immediately about those affected and continue to be affected by these demolition operations.

One of the affected shop owners who identified himself as Isaiah Garang Aleu said he got confused and terrified after his shop was demolished. “I am totally left in the middle of confusion by this surprising destruction of my shop. I am being terrified and don’t know where to relocate now,” he lamented.

Illegally constructed shops with corrugated iron sheets, some of which are sometimes used for family accommodations at night, were demolished at Juba Market in the town center.

Hundreds of people whose houses or shops were destroyed after they were moved out in the morning of the first day exercise were standing by looking worried as they watched their houses being demolished by bull dozers.

In what seemed to be chaos, some individual officers of the security forces deployed at the demolition sites turned rude to reporters or journalists. Some journalists complained of being harassed and prevented from taking photos of the sites. The matter was resolved after a senior security officer intervened and had to explain to such officers that the demolition operation was a public concern and necessary to be covered by the media.

Central Equatoria state government earlier argued that the demolitions of such squatters were necessary in accordance with the town’s Master Plan and did not target any group of people.

Many residents affected by the demolitions said they have been ready to legally obtain pieces of land (plots) in Juba but failed many times. According to another shop keeper at Juba Market who identified himself as Bior Manyang and happened to be one of the victims whose shops were demolished, told the press he failed to obtain a plot after applying several times with the state Department of Land Survey.

It is to a large extent difficult to obtain land in Juba through legal procedures because of unsettled jurisdiction over which level of government should be responsible for the capital and to handle its land issues.

Native communities in Juba also argue that “land belongs to the community” (them) as they always quote the CPA for their defense and expect the government or citizens from other states not to temper with it.

Authorities at various levels of government continue to dialogue among themselves and with the local communities in order to reach amicable solution to the land issues in the town that serves as capital to both the Government of Southern Sudan and Central Equatoria state.

The demolition exercise is expected to continue for several days until all the targeted areas are demolished.

(ST)

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  • 27 January 2009 04:42, by junub

    This is totally out of sense for the local government in juba to just distroy shops and houses by giving seven days note only. I don’t really get it why is it so important to us to denounce something bad when doing to us by others, but like it when one to practise it to ourselves. Wasn’t it long time ago when we called the world to condemn the NIF for demolition of churches and homes of southern Sudanese resident. What happening now or is it because it’s us verse ourselves. Seriously there’re folks among us who really are shadowed a lot with tribalism to not see the beauty our togetherness can give to us. This people whom their shops and homes teared down, are the one who pay taxes you always collecting. Worse is why GoSS just choose to stare without asking the local government to make sure she reserved plots for those whom demolishing will affect. The reason that they are told to evacuted is not making sense whatsoever, since it’s costing to relocate build some where without resourses. I think reaction need to me taken here despite what.

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    • 27 January 2009 10:40, by Gatwech

      Wow!

      I am for and against the demolitions. I am for it in the sense that Juba town needs replanning with new survey. It doesn’t look like a town actually but a big ugly village. 90% of it is just muddy houses with grass roofs while the remaining 10% is either old brick walled houses with corrugated iron sheet roofs and few real concrete houses mostly government buildings. In my last visit to Juba in October last year, I moved around the town. Some of these places demolished deserve the treatment. It is a shame to see a capital city messed up like that. Some responsible people have constructed grass and iron sheet houses and bring prostitutes from Uganda and Kenya to sleep with people there while paying rent to him or her. Some of them end up marrying the same prostitutes they used for sex trade. The corrupted money is pouring into the hands of such prostitutes some of whom just disappear and go back home without any warning with alot of money. It is a mess! Some would want to put up grass houses in first class residential areas and without any legal document from the Survey Department, etc. Juba is really a mess as a town!

      But I am against it because the government has not planned well to relocate the affected people. Residents should not be just told to evacuate, but now told where to go to. What if they go and settle in any open place they happen to see around the town, will that not bring another action to evacuate them? These people are citizens of South Sudan. They are not aliens who should be expected to pack their bags and leave the country. Juba is their capital if it is and they have the right to live in it as long as they want. The governmnent should have allocated places before evacuating the people.

      As for the so-called security officers who harrass journalists, please first understand what your role is during the demolitions. I don’t blame you because you may not understand the role of the media. But learn about other institutions of the government than to be rude all the time even to diplomats at the airport. You are proving to the world that you are not trained, naive and just gun holders.

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      • 27 January 2009 11:10, by Peter Aarai

        Gatwech, Im really annoyed by what u always comment, if I find u in the corner of Juba city, I will hang u in front of people I know u in personal.the topic was demolition happening in Juba not prostitution, u deserve me to hang u

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        • 27 January 2009 12:52, by Atungtil-grandson

          Friends let’s be realistics here.There is no point of taking an issue personal when it is not necessary. Gatwech brought up the issue of prostitution to explain the mess happening in the capital. Unless one is for the idea ,otherwise one shoud not think of hanging a fellow Sudanese for that obvious comment.
          I may not be in agreement with Gatwech for some of his other comments but here there is nothing sinister with this particular comment.

          For the issue of demolitions ,the authority should have given enough grace period and alternative land to the affected people before their shops could be demolished unless they strongly feel that the owners are south sudanese.
          Seven days is just a shame to the authority.

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        • 27 January 2009 16:34, by Gatwech

          Peter Aarai,

          I am sorry if my comment on prostitution in Juba has affected you personally. You don’t need to hang me. But I would advise that bringing prostitutes as sex workers and ending up marrying them is so dangerous and could hang you in another way. Sorry for touching your life!!!!

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          • 27 January 2009 20:26, by Peter Aarai

            Everything each Capital City in the world will never be clean without prositution on street or some bitches.let leave Juba alone just came up in less than ten years,and looks Cairo,Egypt, Addis,Ethhiopia, Nairobi, Kenya Lagos Nigeria, Paris Franch, Hong Kong China, Los Angeles California all these majors Cities have millions prostitution on street and that dont mean mess Cities are not qualify to be Nation capital,as long as those bitches are not risking their lives and those who went with them. Gatwech, I’m anti-prostitution but my question who brought all those Kenyan, ugandan, Ethiopia Rwandan, Congoles at first place with their highest HIV to do prostitution in foriegn countries to legally be sex workers with our low lives politician leaders and money lovers.the city mayor must be first sacked out office for his inexperience work, governor too and finally Salva Kiir for hiring all those people to do sex work in our new nation, are there some Sudanese girls do the same things those countries? Big No. all those Kenyan girls are being use for exchange of houses in their countries by our fellows country leaders and low lives politician who work for present not future.someone can just go to Munuki area and High Malakal and see those leaders houses have Ethiopian girls working in their home and later night used as woman.I’m not going to mention one of them but u can see if u going to shopping around Konyokonyo. we need these leaders to be out in the offices and put new generation in work.

            to Gatwech again, dont be panic if I have said that I’m going to hang u. stay in peace, I’m not going hang my countryman who talk truth

            Peace & love bitchies

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            • 28 January 2009 20:53, by Mark Stoneweapon

              Peter,

              I think I understand what you are saying.

              You are frustrated with Gatwetch, as he places blame on the prostitution industry, by justifying in his mind that the demolition of shelters is acceptable if they are being used for prostitution. Whereas you would argue that it is the corrupt leaders in office that are responsible and need to be replaced by a younger generation.

              Am I correct?

              To be fair to Gatwetch, he recognizes the right of his people to live in their country, and their capital city. Gatwetch does not make a clear the distinction that a shelter being used for prostitution may also be a personal place to live, but he does criticize the material value of a “muddy” house, which is also a place to live, then Gatwetch goes on to say that the people being forced out of their homes should at least have another place to go before their homes are demolished, and rightly so. A person or family who lives in fear of being dislocated from the place they live has almost no incentive to improve their environment.

              Peter, you are right to say that your leaders are responsible for their actions and should be replaced, but to simply say that they should be replaced by a younger generation is ill-conceived, even though it is a just thought doesn’t guarantee that the outcome will be any better for society in the long run.

              If you had said that the younger generation first must earn their place of power by the merits of their contribution to society, then I would agree. Power must be commanded by the fruits of society, not against the corruption of society. When you plant a tree, you must nurture it, and allow it time for its fruit to grow, and as society benefits from its fruit, it begins to transform their destructive ways of life into planting and nurturing more trees, bearing more fruits, where the fruits guide the policies of its society.

              Reform must start with the nurturing of trees in a society. A dying tree is like a prostitute that can earn more money selling sex than she would in a teaching career, children who loose their teachers to the sex trade are victims of this disease. This is understandable if a teacher thinks she can make a better life for her family with more money, as her personal observation of short term needs can be met, the long term result is destructive to the branches of society. Uneducated children are deprived of skills to earn a living; hence the sex trade can become the recipient of this deprivation. Who is valued more in society: a prostitute that makes a man feel good and makes more money, or a teacher that educates children but makes less money?
              The nurturing of a tree begins with choice, mans right to choose between paying money and trading for sex instead of supporting education, man’s right to choose between paying for any other personal pleasures that do not benefit the branches of fruit in society instead of funding the branches of its people and its children with food, shelter, education, health care and social contracts that protect these human rights from deprivation. The people who sacrifice their individual personal pleasures for the dignity of others, are the people who you want to see leading your country.

              It is not the government’s right or any man’s right to change the minds of people, this right is reserved to the fruit of justice, and it is the right of the social contract to protect this justice from the individual rights of its ownership.

              There is no greater force of goodness than the fruits of justice revealed to the masses.

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              • 29 January 2009 10:01, by Peter Aarai

                I totally agreed with Mr Mark, but people like Gatwech does not distinction what prostitution and demolitions are, they just keep barking prostitution, prostitution while his Gatlual Deng Dak Chan is the one who running the prostitution industry in Juba to earn his living, hiring Kenyan, Ethiopian, Uganda to do the jobs of prostitution.

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      • 27 January 2009 15:14, by Samuel Lwal

        Gatwech

        You always talk sense but becease of your too many words, you do go astray, pleases be smart, you have vision.
        Look at those bandits callinig themselves Equatorias,visionless people who think of today.How can Governor decided with his inexperienced Advisors and State’s Partliament to issued a such a degree.Demolition of shops, houses without the owners being relocate to new place is so meaningless.
        Equatorias why don’t you learn from Dinka and Nuer,who knows sharing land with other people is a pride.
        What happened to Juba in our absencia, JALABA control your areas without any question from you, the so called Wani Konga collaborate with Jalaba and treat you like dogs.
        BETRAYAL, COLLABORATOR, ILLITERATE MINDED PERSON,HOPELESS person who doesnot know tommorrow will come!!!
        If his order works, lets it demolish THONGPINY AND JEBEL Dinka.

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        • 29 January 2009 10:25, by Wad Juba

          You! My friend, lack originality and common sense. Have you ever been anywhere? Juba, like any other capitol cities/towns around the World, should be well planned. Hence, there is a reason, why the government is demolising the flimsy, crime infested shanty towns. My question, my short sighted friend, is why do you have to insult all Equatorians? (the very people, who are trying to civilise you ANIMALS). I do not agree with the time-frame that(the victims) was given to the affected people. before, the demolition. Lastly, it seems, like your sucking up to the same Nuer, whom you Dinkas, called traitors and other sinister names, not long ago

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    • 28 January 2009 07:39, by LadoSanto

      I totally agree with the Government of Central Equatoria on the demolition of squatters in Juba Town.
      It’s only in Juba that Squatters are found in every corner.
      Lets not get confused by others by connecting this demolitions with what the NIF did in Northern Sudan.

      I beleive its only in Central Equatoria State that everyone Grab a piece of land to do whatever he/she want to do.Be it a Bar, Hotel, House or Lodge because he/she have been in the Bush for 21 years. We were all in the straglle of being Marginalise. Our parents were killed by the Northerners for protecting our land.

      My dear go to all the other Ten States of Southern Sudan, Nothing like the land grabbing that is taking place in Juba, is being experience! Its time that we must be organised. Lets help our government to build our Nation.

      I will appreciate the demolition to continue upto JEBEL DINKA and other place like JUBA NA BARI where people grab land and Harassed the owners of the plots!
      Why is it that people demand land only in Juba?

      Were we fighting for Juba only or the whole of Suthern Sudan?

      Juba alone is not Sudan Sudan!

      Congratulations to The Governor of Central Equatoria State, H.E Clement Wani Konya!

      DEMOLITION CONTINUES!

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    • 23 November 2012 06:08, by bachokabtka

      Your post had provided me with another point of view on this topic. I had no idea that things can work in this manner as well. Thank you for sharing your perspective.
      Office storage

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  • 27 January 2009 07:05, by Marco Nyak

    It’s a good idea to re-design the South Sudan capital city base on the intended plot plan and to meet the world capital cities standards. However; given the fact that, there are typical procedures which; should be carry out before commencing such an exercise.

    First, Government of South Sudan should give a substitute lands, whether a shop or a house for those whom their shops/ houses will be affected.

    Second, Government of South Sudan should pay a lamp sum amount of money to affected individuals being the cost of re-building of new shop/ house.

    Third, Government of South Sudan should give an adequate & significant grace period until the first and second steps been accomplished, where the residents or shop owners are able to re-locate their belonging to new location.

    Therefore, with above three simple steps, the GOSS will act as mature and responsible administration, a government for the people not against the people.

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    • 27 January 2009 12:14, by Lodule

      Hey mr.Marco, the Government has nothing to do with those squatters demolished on compensation for money. This point is completely irrelavant.

      What I will agree with you is the allocation of land for the shop owners and generally Juba market to be shifted to before the demolision exercise could have started. Otherwise, the Government is doing the right thing for Juba to be pronounced as an international Capital of Southern Sudan.

      The information concerning the demolision of Squatters and some affected Residential areas has almost covered the whole of Southern Sudan in general and has covered a good depth in the ears of Juba Residents in particular.Its right to replan Juba town.

      In bussiness, there is risk and uncertainities. you risk to construct in government area because may be you were uncertain who exactly owns the land,but at the end the Government decided to notify you about its land and gave you good number of days to vaccate but this shops owners always click ignore.Never blame the Government for that.

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  • 27 January 2009 15:37, by The Nationalist

    Dear all,
    Demolutions for the sake of them do not offer a long term solution to the problem of squatters or overcrowding in Southern Sudan towns, let alone Juba, the capital. We need to acknowledge that the 22 year war displaced of thousands of rural populations to the towns. That explains why if one flies over Southern Sudan, one finds that the countryside is vertually empty. The question is what should be done? The Government of South Sudan in collaboration with the ten southern states need to find an attractive solution to the overcrowding in our towns/cities. Late Hero Dr. John Garang (may his soul rest in peace) had a vision of taking the cities to the country side by making return and resettlement in the countryside attractive (through provision of services such as education, health units, agricultural packages, improving security, etc). I would also add that senior Government officials should show an example by establishing themselves in their own villages/communities. What is more disturbing is the fact that southern Sudan, despite the abundant and fertile land, cannot feed itself because our leders seem to have lost direction!! Please remember that depending on petroleum is not a viable option. South Sudan should produce surplus food to be sold to the region and not the other way round!! The present land-related ethnic conflicts have been fueled by lack of direction from our leaders. I am, therefore, appealing to GOSS and the State governments to pay more attention to the priority needs of the people!!
    The Nationalist!!

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