By Ephraim Modi Duku Sokiri
South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) General Headquarter has given residents settling on a sizable piece of land at Gudele-One, a period of six months to evacuate.
SSNPS Director of Legal Affairs, Maj. Gen. Sadik Ismail Sidigi issued the warning to the residents while addressing the media on Friday 5th May, in Juba city.
Police claims ownership of the area stretching from Lou T-junction, north of the round-about, up to the first petrol station, along Referendum Road.
The institution now demands to reclaim the land which includes a part of the market.
“Anyone who is living in that place is to vacate before the dry season, because in January, 2024, we are going to evict them by force,” Maj. Gen. Sadik warned.
Maj. Gen. Sadik stated that the piece of land in contest was allotted to the police in 1970 by the then semi-autonomous government of Southern Sudan.
He said since then, the police had established an office in the area which became a workplace for Reserve Forces called DIFA MEDANI.
According to Sadik that during the long civil war, the army occupied the land as one of the entry points to the city and left to the police force in 2005 after signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
“Since that time, some individuals built on that land knowing very well that, the land belongs to police,” he added.
He said that the inspector General of police instituted a committee headed by Lt. Gen. Majak Arol who was the Director for Logistics and Procurement and other officers as members, to handle the matter.
Maj. Gen. Sadik told the residents that they have no legal document to guarantee their stay in the area.
“They are claiming that they bought the land from somebody, who is the owner? The owner is me [the police],” Sadik echoed.
Maj. Gen. Sadik said he was part of the committee that followed the process of obtaining the legal documents of the land and alerted the locals in the area to leave but they never heeded the directive.
He said the police would evict the occupants by force but the global mandated of the institution is to keep law, security and order that’s why it relies on a lawful procedure to reclaim the land.
“At that time, we were able to vacate them by force but …we had to resort to the law and a criminal case was opened under Section 48/329 of the Penal Code Act, 2008,” he explained.
He tipped that the Public Prosecution Attorney General issued an order of suspension of building as well as warrant of arrest in which he claimed to be on the process of the arrest.
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the community in Gudele-One, Mr. Anei Dinato Ariik, acknowledged the place was not allotted to locals but they have stayed for a long time.
He recalled that the portion of the land was indeed occupied by the army.
“This place as we know in fact has not been allotted to people; people have been staying all these times. When people were brought here they were brought as JIUs soldiers. This place long time ago was for civil defense, but not all place but small part of it,” he said.
“The JIU was brought here but when they left, South Sudanese soldiers remained. This remained like this everybody brought a family because there was no place. The people stay without legal paper,” He said.
Mr. Dinato reiterated that they gutted and apportioned part of the land to the police while the rest remained for the civilians.
“If the government wants to give this place to police, they should register these civilians and take them in another place,” he suggested.
Dinato demanded government compensates about seven hundred twenty families who have lives for over thirty years, on the 120×100 meters square piece of land.
“The people have been staying here for more than 30 years and they are aging, where are they going to be taken? Where will these 720 houses go?” Dinato inquired in bewilderment.
Mr. Dinato vowed to take legal procedures pertaining rights of the people to possess the contested land.
Akot Yel Anei, a resident of the area has questioned the directive of the police to send the people from the area by January.
He said the police cannot evict the people who were allocated a piece of land long time ago, by the same government.