By Hou Akot Hou
Authorities briefly detained six chiefs of Kuom Boma in Nyalath Paym of Aweil Centre County, Northern Bahr El Ghazal state for resisting the annexation of their area to Aweil municipality.
The Boma administrator, Mr. William Ajing revealed that the six chiefs were arrested on Thursday, November 16, 2023, at the Boma headquarters.
He said that the residents, including him, were taken by surprise when the municipal council officials stormed the Boma.
Mr. Ajing alleged that Aweil town council officials connived with some individual from the boma to annex the area into the Municipality.
He noted that the decision flared up tension in the area.
According to Ajing, the town mayor and his crew stormed Kuom Boma, which is about an hour’s drive from Aweil Town, on the road to Wau.
He said the mayor and his team went to the area with an invitation from a clique of members but without prior notice to local authorities.
The boma administrator accused the group, but who failed to closely work with the Aweil town mayor to annex Kuom Boma to the municipality.
“They came and started holding a meeting with a clique of other members who claim that the area originally falls under Aweil Town, something the majority disputes in the area,” said Ajing.
That squabble led to the arrest of six chiefs, who told them bluntly that the area falls under Aroyo (Aweil Centre County) but not Aweil Town Council,” he continued.
He lamented that the mayor and his clique carried on their meetings with the collaborators who connived to sell the area away.
“The collaborators made the chiefs suffer as they were tortured by police officers who went with the town mayor. So they took them till they were fined 60,000 SSP each and got released,” the Boma administrator claimed.
Ajing maintained that he would work with the authorities in Aroyo, Aweil Centre county headquarters, to thwart such attempts at annexation, which are likely to stir up communal problems.
Reacting to Kuom residents’ allegations, Aweil town mayor William Dut Mou said he was only called to listen to the concerns of the people of Kuom.
“I went to Kuom on the invitation of some people, including chiefs. On arrival, I heard from them. They enumerated a lot of issues, such as the need to have a school in the area as children go to Aweil and become street children, as well as the need for upgrading their health center into a PHCU, among others,” Dut narrated.
According to him, they didn’t have an intention to annex Kuom Boma to Aweil town, but the residents quarreled among themselves, so they had to contain the situation.
“Kuom falls under Aweil, as some chiefs could attest. So, our main objective was to listen to them (residents) and do what is indisputable, such as doing anything good for them,” he continued.
The town mayor denied manhandling the chiefs during arrest and the claims of fining each chief 60,000 SSP to secure their release.
“About arrest, we have not tortured them; we took chiefs to quell the tension, and then we released them afterward” he said.
He urged the residents to seek better avenues of sorting out disagreement among themselves than spreading misinformation and rumors to tarnish reputation of the authorities.
The annexation or curving of the areas in Aweil has been causing headaches between authorities at the municipality and residents in neighboring environs.
In a similarly incident last year in the Maper-Akot-aru and Udhum areas, tensions also arose over annexation concerns.