Police confess they are guilty on land grabbing

The lack of accommodation in Juba that condemns top police bosses into either living in far-flung areas or squatting in idle plots is to blame for rampant cases of land grabbing in Juba, a top police boss said.

Central Equatoria State, particularly Juba, has endured chain of ugly incidents of chaotic land grabbing and the problem can be blamed on the vacuum of housing policy in the police and other organized forces.

When briefing the minister of interior Angelina Teny, on the challenges facing the police, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Lt Gen. Thomas Jal, said the police are facing serious accommodation problem, which is breeding other forms of insecurity in rampant land grabbing.

Jal said some of the generals who head the police force and other organized forces are forced to stay in the outskirts of the city where their security is also not guaranteed.

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“The issue of accommodation for generals is very important, this would also reduce the issue of land grabbing,” he said.

He added, “Like this thing of land grabbing happening in Juba is mostly from us, whether [done by] the soldiers, police, National Security or any other; it is because they need to have residences to stay in,” he confessed, adding that most of the officers who build on random lands are doing so out of convenience to stay closer to work because the government is yet to give them proper accommodation.

In August this year, the Commissioner of Juba City County, Charles Wani, accused some “senior government officials” of participating in illegal scheme to acquire land in Bilinyang Boma of Mangal Payam.

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Wani revealed this after Bilinyang Chief Pio Tombe accused unknown land grabbers of interfering with his administration and claiming that they were giving land to displaced persons.

“There are a lot of criminals these days and as a matter of fact…most of them… are senior officers in government,” Wani said. The SSPDF, through its Spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai, denied being part of the land grabbing syndicate that is blamed for occupying idle land in Juba.

Five months ago, Police spokesperson Maj. Gen. Daniel Justin Bula also reported that at least six people were killed and one more wounded after security forces clashed with armed civilians over a land dispute in Kworijik Boma of Juba County.

“The police managed to arrest 53 suspects. We suspect that they are land grabbers,” Justin stated.

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In 2021, President Salva Kiir Mayardit constituted a 12-member committee tasked to investigate the Garbo village incident and address the issues of rampant land grabbing around Juba City. But land grabbing continues to happen.

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