JUBA – Authorities in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria state where the country’s capital is located have arrested at least 45 people including senior members of South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) for grabbing lands, Radio Tamazuj quoting local officials reports.
The Executive Director of Rodolo Boma in Central Equatoria state, Alessandro Jada, said the land grabbers were arrested by local authorities in Mangalla Payam on Friday saying efforts to bring the matter into the attention of the state authorities began late last year.
“Grabbing of land in parts of Mangalla started on November 2, 2020. We notified the government last year but the land grabbers continued to divide and lease our ancestral lands. Now, the locals live in panics, and as the rainy season approaches, we cannot access our farmlands,” Alessandro was quoted by Radio Tamazuj as saying.
For his part, the Central Equatoria state information minister Paulino Lukudu Obede said the land grabbers were arrested after the locals gave tip-off to the authorities revealing the identities of the criminals.
“Land grabbing has become a headache for us. So, as a state, we formed a committee to resolve the issue. So far, 45 people have been arrested, most of whom were armed. Eight of those arrested have already been convicted in court on charges of land grabbing. And the committee is still going on with its work because peace can only prevail when the issue of land grabbing is resolved,” he said.
“We want to assure the people of Mangalla that the government is working to stop this issue of land grabbing. Land grabbing is a crime. So, my message is that anyone who wants to get a piece of land should follow procedures so that they do not find themselves in a problem,” he added.