News, Unity State

Demolition leaves 400 people without shelter

By Yien Gattuor

Local authorities in Leer County, Unity State, demolished at least one hundred households, comprising 400 individuals, in the Leer Temporary Protection Area (TPA) on Wednesday.

The TPA was created in 2016 to accommodate locals affected by the 2016 conflict that erupted after Gen. Taban Deng Gai defected from SPLM-IO and joined President Sava Kiir Mayardit’s SPLM-IG.

Stephen Taker Riak, the commissioner of Leer County, told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Thursday that since last year his county has distributed some land to all TPA residents.

“We met in the first week of June, and I told them that TPA will be demolished on June 28; let everyone go back to their homes because all of you have homes within the town,” he said.

Taker said the TPA population was resettled.

At least 400 people were residents of the former Leer TPA, where they had sheltered since 2016, following fighting between the SPLA-IO and SSPDF that displaced the local population.

Taker said, “as a government, we are not only targeting those from the former TPA, but we will also allot land to IDPs displaced by floods in places like Lual and Guet, among others.

The county commissioner said the humanitarian partners will still deliver the service to the same people that have been relocated to town.

“We have already reserved public spaces for schools, health centers, playgrounds, and even a police station,” he noted.

“We also asked our partners, and by last month we started allotment if there was a response from our partners,” he added.

Commissioner Taker warned that the local authority will arrest those who reject the demolition of TPA, saying they are against development.

“I direct security personnel that if there is any group against demolishing TPA, please arrest them,” he warned.

Meanwhile, an eyewitness and a representative of the TPA community said, “The decision has forced us to leave the temporary protection area.

He dismissed the county authority’s claims that they had allotted their resettlement plots in the town.

“We are not given a place for resettlement; it’s not true from the authorities saying that they have given us land.”

“For the last two years, we have been demanding land from government, without any response, only yesterday for them to come with the decision to demolish 400 TPA residents,” the eyewitness added.

The TPA community representative said they are currently left out in the open.

“We are now outside; there are no shelters, and it’s raining season; it will be very difficult for us to manage such situations.”

A TPA community representative said they have raised their concern over the demolition exercise by the commissioner of Leer.

The TPA residents are now appealing to the UN peace mission (UNMISS) to come to their rescue.


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