Juba, MAR/12/2016, SSN;
In a first ever reaction, a joint military command from the Republican Guards known as Tiger Division, under General Marial Chanuong together with the body guards of General Thomas Cirillo have forcefully recovered land previously and illegally grabbed by Dinka Bor and Dinka Padang communities in BUDUGE Village in Rejaf East, Juba, home to General Thomas Cirillo himself, according to The Dawn Newspaper of Juba published today, Saturday, March 12, 2016.
According to the published article, General Chanuong, who himself inspected the site on Friday and has ordered the arrest of the ring leaders from the Dinka Bor and Padang Dinka communities respectively for their irresponsible influence that caused the conflict between the Bari natives and the illegal Dinka land grabbers.
Reliable sources from Juba indicate that the problem started after General Thomas Cirillo, a highly renowned fighter during the liberation war, and a Bari native himself of the land grabbed by those two Dinka communities, and who happens to be the SPLA Deputy Chief of Staff, reportedly called an emergency meeting of the top SPLA generals at Bilpham, the Army headquarters, and severely warned them that he was ‘going back to fight for the land grabbed, and that he would remove his military uniform and all the medals and other brass’ from his uniform, and that he would be ready to ‘die in his land.’
It’s reported that both those of Gen. Paul Malong, the Chief of Staff and Gen. Marial, in shocking disbelief, begged and told Gen. Thomas that “we heard what you said but we’ll not agree with your dying.”
Incidentally, the land grabbed by the Dinka Bor and Dinka Padang is the actual village home of the larger family of General Thomas Cirillo and it is the same place where he, Gen. Thomas currently resides. Gen. Thomas is the younger brother to Gen. Peter Cirillo, himself a legendary veteran of the first Anya-Nya war.
The alleged Dinka Bor and Padang land grabbers had completely ignored General Thomas Cirillo’s presence and residence in the Buduge, Rejaf Tokiman East village, which lies on the Eastern bank of the Nile river from Juba.
According to the Dawn Newspaper of Juba, whose Editor-in-Chief is Mr. Emmanuel MonyChol Akop, General Chanuong has appealed to the ring leaders still at large to surrender themselves before they are forcefully hunted down. If you want land, he appealed to them, it is better to cooperate with the natives and follow the right system so that your situation is understood and land is given to you.
The Dawn Newspaper reports that General Chanuong acknowledged that “land has more than economic value to its owners,” pointing out land is a source of livelihood, wealth, social peace, and in some cases holds a ceremonial and cultural value.
Meanwhile, General Thomas Cirillo vowed to rally behind his Bari community and not to compromise with those illegal settlers and occupants or people who use force to grab other people’s land for themselves. Gen. Thomas said this is very bad and provocative, as there have been serious clashes between the land grabbers and the natives few days ago.
According to the newspaper, first of all, even the Padang and the Bor Dinka themselves are in tension among themselves and also with the Bari land owners.
“I told my guards to be watchful and open fire in self-defense if they touch you,” according to The Dawn, “because some people will manipulate the situation to tarnish my fame.” Gen. Thomas Cirillo said.
The two generals, Cirillo and Chanuang are both loyalists to the current President Salva Kiir before and after the country attained independence in 2011.
General Cirillo who hailed from Equatoria region is one of the most respected high ranking military commanders in the SPLA, South Sudan official army.
Gen. Ciriilo has beefed up security along Rejaf-Juba road after an outcry from his own village for him to rescue them from threats of violence by the two communities, Bor and Padang Dinka, who have used force to grab a large of size of Bari land, according to the Dawn newspaper.
General Chanuong said already one community leader from Dinka Bor believed to be a member of the organised forces with the rank of 1st lieutenant was arrested at the scene and brought to Juba when the two commanders inspected the large size of the grabbed land and found the grabbers busy with demarcating the area, according to the Dawn Newspaper in Juba.
Reportedly, General Paul Malong along with General Thomas Cirillo went to meet President Salva Kiir where Gen. Thomas is said to have repeated the same warning he earlier told the SPLA generals. Gen. Malong reportedly told Pres. Kiir that he had repeatedly warned the President about the danger the Dinka land grabbers will bring to the nation.
It is said that President Kiir was in a terrible shock when General Thomas repeated his threat to die for his land, Kiir just ‘held his head down.”
More developments to the story above:
It is reported that Gen. Thomas Cirillo’s move has unsurprisingly attracted great support and solidarity not only from the Bari land owners but from many other South Sudanese from all parts of the Greater Equatoria region. From Yambio and all Western Equatoria to the entire Eastern Equatoria, pledges of support including physical and otherwise have been continuously pouring in.
Reportedly, the Former governor of Central Equatoria, Gen. Clement Wani Konga has promised to deploy his Mundari militias in support of the Bari and it is said other surrounding tribes are marching to Rejaf to boost the support to Gen. Thomas and the people of Rejaf.
Already, Chief Lado Bureng of Rejaf East payam, the area in dispute, has reportedly been detained on bribery and sale of the land in dispute.
Also, a Canadian citizen from Rokon who was the Executive officer of the Rejaf East payam is on the run for alleged bribery in the sale of this land grabbed by the Dinka of Bor and Padang. It’s reported that the Dinka in Canada would pay the money to his wife in Canada for the piece of land in Rejaf East.
Also, the newly appointed Commissioner of Jebel Lado is reportedly ordered to be arrested for involvement in illicit land sales.
Finally, despite the vows of President Kiir on the land grabbing problem, it is lately reported that president Kiir himself has ordered the same General Marial Chanuong to build a fence from the GUEDA (the Military Barracks to the South) up to Lulugo southwards and then up to the banks of the River Nile. This massive area will force out nearly 300 homes of innocent residents who had legally acquired those plots of land.
Kiir’s Motive: It should be recalled that some years ago, while Dr. Riek Machar was vice-president an opposed to the plan, President Kiir and his Jieng Council of Elders had toyed with the idea of relocating the J-One presidential residence from the current site to the Gueda-Lologu area, allegedly for “security reasons,” he was said to be morbidly paranoid and afraid of the tall buildings that are being currently erected around the current presidential residence, J-One. Riek wanted the relocation of the entire government to Ramciel, the proposed new capital.
More updates will be coming!!!