October 22, 2012 (BOR) – The Member of Parliament representing Pochalla County John Joseph Abulla said Monday that the county’s Commissioner Joseph Okello has arrested four people suspected of being part of group rejecting his attempts to change the name of the county headquarters.
- John Joseph Abulla MP, who represents Pochalla South Constituency No. 24, in his office in Bor, Jonglei, South Sudan, October 22, 2012 (ST)
Over the last week there has been a dispute between Commissioner Okello and the community members in Akoyee Payam [district] over the renaming of the county headhunters.
Under the proposition, three Bomas [Sub-Districts] will be annexed to Akoyee Payam, which will be renamed "No Man’s Land Payam".
The community addressed their grievances and rejection of the proposal in a letter to Jonglei State’s Deputy Governor Hussein Mar Nyot, Minister of Local Government Diing Akol Diing MP, and the area’s MP, John Joseph Abulla.
Abulla, who represents Pochalla South Constituency No. 24, said that he received a cal "at 12 midnight that there are four people arrested by the county commissioner."
The source, who Abulla did not name, said Commissioner Okello sent the South Sudanese Army (SPLA) to arrest the four people. According to the source they are being held at the SPLA garrison in Pochalla.
One of the Kings of Anuak tribe, Gilo Okwanga, who visited Bor on Monday also confirmed the arrest of the elders by the SPLA, who were acting on the orders of the Commissioner.
Abulla, who sits on the Committee for Land and Physical Infrastructure in the Jonglei State Legislative Assembly, criticised the Commissioner for ordering the arrest of the four senior community members for expressing their opinions. Free speech is enshrined in South Sudan’s constitution.
The local MP said that Commissioner Okello was not authorized to rename places and he should focus on his administration and helping the community rather than renaming villages.
“I am advising the communities to stay normal so that this thing is sorted out normally we are now planning to go to Pochalla County as MPs to see the issue and share our views together with the County Commissioner,” Abulla said.