By Ijoo Bosco
September 26, 2013 (TORIT) - The Ketebo ethnic group of Ikwoto county in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state are petitioning the state’s parliament against "attempts to exclude" them from the list of ethnic communities living in the state and in the young nation.
An intellectual leader from the Ketebo community, Martin Napali Lofane, with several other members of the group presented their petition to the speaker of the state legislative assembly, Emmanuel Ambrose Ocholimo, in Torit on Thursday.
The petition asked that their group by recognised like any other tribal community.
“We are writing through this esteemed desk of the August House of Eastern Equatoria state on attempts to exclude Ketebo from the list of Nationalities or ethnic communities in this state” Mr Lofanehe said.
He went on to say that they will be grateful if their rights are defended and granted by the state parliament.
Ketebo community leaders asked for support against attempts to deny the Ketebo its rightful existence as one of the ethnic communities in the state.
The head chief of Losite payam [districts], Alex Lojana Kwatir, who is a member of the Ketebo, together with Ketebo Youth Chairperson, Martin Napali Lofane, said they were presenting the petition to overcome numerous challenges faced by their community.
The letter argues that the Ketebo occupies four bomas [sub-districts] such as Napeiyase, Namarati, Nakoringole and Madiel within Losite payam.
Ikwoto county, according to the petition, is inhabited by seven ethnic groups with distinct languages and cultures being spoken and practiced.
The community leader said that "members of our community seeking to acquire the South Sudan National Identity Cards, have been asked to choose a tribe from a list of existing ethnic groups from the internet, which does not include Ketebo, thus the authorities ask them to choose a new and different identity,” the petition reads.
The Ketebo community in its letter has asked the State Legislative Assembly to come with an official list of all nationalities of Eastern Equatoria State to be used by the National ID office in Torit to avoid interference by some individuals.
The petition letters calls for a Parliamentary Committee to be formed to investigate the reasons that led to exclusion of Ketebo from the list of ethnic groups.
According to the petition, Eastern Equatoria’s governor, Louis Lobong Lojore, mentioned the Ketebo when listing the state’s ethnic groups in a speeches to mark two years of independence from Sudan on 9 July 2013.