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Upper Nile state community rejects relocation of capital

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March 11, 2014 (JUBA) – The Abialang section of the Ngok Dinka community in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state have filed a petition against the recent decision by authorities to temporarily designate Renk county as it new state capital due to insecurity in Malakal.

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A young woman runs through the street as gunshots ring out a few streets over, in Malakal, Upper Nile state, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. (Photo AP /Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin)

Malakal, about 497km north-east of Juba, remains a rebel-held territory since it was retaken from government forces last month.

Renk country commissioner, in an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune, confirmed receiving the community’s petition, saying the petitioners feared the possible extension of the conflict in to their area.

“There was a peaceful march on Monday. The community came out to reject proposal of the state government which designates Renk town as the temporary state capital. What they stated in their petition is that designation of the area as state capital would extend conflict to the area, because people from different ethnic groups working in the state government would also relocates to Renk,” Guot Akuei said by phone.

“This would in turn create tension and conflict over competition for limited resources, including lands and other utilities,” he added.

The community’s petition, stressed the commissioner, also confirmed claims by opposition forces they were in full control of the oil-rich town of Malakal, despite government’s insistence that it partly controls the Upper Nile capital.

“There should be no misinterpretation of the petition but as the government, we will try our best to explain to our people that the designation of the town is just on temporary arrangement purpose. I know this is difficult decision but the people should also understand that the government to relocate to where it can operate to provide services, including coordinating plans and activities about how best it can address this conflict,” explained Akuei.

Upper Nile’s information Minister, Philip Jiben Ogal, also confirmed that the state cabinet had unanimously approved to designate Renk as its temporary administrative capital.

“The reasons for relocating and designating Renk as the capital of Upper Nile are to help the government carry out routine duties and activities. It is not a permanent designation but just temporary arrangements until security situation in Malakal is addressed”, Jiben separately told Sudan Tribune.

The decision, he said, was reached during an extraordinary cabinet meeting chaired by Governor Simon Kun Puoc, adding that member of the state parliament, cabinet ministers and key state civil servants would relocate to Renk town; the new area of operation.

“Already there are some officials in Renk area. You know that Renk is a big town to accommodate the two governments, the county and the state governments. There is no problem there at all. The demonstration by the community was simply to alert the government and their concerns would be addressed,” said the minister.

“The government does not intend to stay long in the area. The government does not intend to stay there permanently. It is a just on temporary arrangement,” he added, but stressed that the government would return to Malakal once it was recaptured from the rebels.

(ST)

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  • 13 March 2014 07:35, by Mi diit

    Run, run and run for your lives and establish a mobile administration of IDPs in Renk. But here is another bad news for you, we are coming to Renk VERY soon and also shut down the oil operations in Melut county. Where will you run to next? Maybe you better cross the border to Kosti and become an exiled administration of refugees under Khartoum.

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    • 13 March 2014 07:49, by Ayom Ayom

      The choice was base on the people of upper Nile,it was not one person decision.

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      • 13 March 2014 08:12, by Snipper

        When Nuer will sit down to calculate their death toll, they will cry with one eye! After all they will not even eliminate 5% of mighty Dinka! The war will always be at their doors and the death hang around in their villages! Now the rain is coming and their mothers in UNMISS bases! Hahahah shortsighted community that doesn’t calculate losses properly!

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        • 13 March 2014 08:43, by Mi diit

          Snipper,
          Don’t worry. Ngundeng predicted that "jiek hoa be tuok ni wei Nuer, ka gooy hoa be tuok ni wei Nuer."
          Just patiently wait for the worst to come to you. Remember, the war has just started and deepening its roots before it strikes you hardest in Warrap and beyond.

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          • 13 March 2014 08:51, by Mi diit

            And I thought you also have Dinka populations in greater upper nile who equally share the pain now and in rainy season to come. And guess what, the rainy season will be worse for the Dinka because your husbands, Uganda army,JEM, SPLA-N, etc, will be less effective; tanks not move, jet bombs fall without much impact, and we will move on to get your asses every where. Sounding threatening, ah?

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        • 13 March 2014 12:46, by chuol

          The problem is not for Nuer it’s countrywide problem, if your area is not yet being destroyed is just a matter of time like. I see many Bahr-el gazalian are dancing about the destruction and death toll but, minixum your talking soon it will reach to you as well.....

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          • 14 March 2014 02:22, by Hardlinner

            Chuol, remember what happened to riek nuer rebel in 1991. bahr el ghazal remain untouchable because it is hell to nuer rebels. Don’t mass around with power house.

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          • 14 March 2014 09:31, by Makuen Ci Nhomwan

            To Chuol
            You are just A Dinka Nuer who is lying.when your dirty rebels come to Bahr Elgazal,even one dirty rebel will not survive to go back. Yot will also face thoroboro and SPLA. SPLA OYee! Thoroboro Oyeee!

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    • 13 March 2014 14:29, by Mapuor

      Hahahah Renk Oyee.Let Nyagaat starve in malakal.Hahahah we are ready to relocate any place to any place and continue with struggle.ALLUTA CONTINUA

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    • 13 March 2014 16:46, by Bentiu son

      BREAKING NEWS,
      The freedom fighters of SPLA in Opposition has captured Leer County -Unity State yesterday evening. Thereby,Salva Kiir’s pro Gelweng militias/SPLA and their imported hired mercenaries of Darfur rebel JEM,SRF N SPLA- N are on run right now. Freedom fighters oyee, CDR James Koang Chuol oyeee, Bentiu oyeee, RSS oyeeeeeeeee

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  • 13 March 2014 08:14, by Jalaby

    What you will relocate the capital from Malakal to Renk? why don’t you come to Kostei then?
    Yes,Renk is a big city and well established in contrast with Malakal because we as Arab/Jalaba built it,it has stable electricity that comes from our national electricity network and part of the circle, it has paved road connected with Kostei and then Khartoum up to Port Sudan,

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    • 13 March 2014 08:29, by Jalaby

      it has big hospital, big schools,etc.
      You should know the fact that we spent 112 million Euro connecting Renk with our national electricity network and now getting its electricity from far north from Marawei dam and Renk electricity plantation capacity is around 120 megawatt!!
      We built and you guys come and destroy..Shame on you!!

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      • 13 March 2014 12:34, by DDooggaa

        Jalaby,
        Stop lying, Am in Renk County, where are the big schools and Hospitals build by Khartoum in Renk?? are those things called schools? did you see what a school?? You and who build it???

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