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Former South Sudanese IDPs Arrested for Seeking Settlement

By Simon Deng
South Sudanese returning home after years in internally displaced people’s camps are being arrested for settling in preferred areas.
On April 4, 21 returnees from the United Nations Protection of Civilian Site in Juba were arrested by security officials for seeking to settle at Amadi area in Juba County of Central Equatoria State.
The action has instilled fear in the former IDPs, many of whom have lived in the POCs since December 2013.
The major concern is the “arbitrary arrest of members” of those returning home, Lang Stephen Koang, a former IDP said by phone April 5.
All the people arrested have been transferred to Central Equatoria police “and the reason of arrests were actually very unclear,” Koang said.
South Sudan is witnessing an influx of people returning from displacement within and outside the country as a result of the implementation of a transitional government of national unity to end the crisis that left 400, 000 people dead and displaced four million others.
The United Nations Mission operation in the country closed several POCs including those in Juba, Wau and Bor where thousands have left.
According to Koang, the government must ensure an urgent intervention to stop the arrest.
Paulino Lukudu, the Central Equatoria State Information Minister admitted the arrest but said it was over illegal land allocation.
“The reason is that they have created a fake allotment of plots, they created a stamp and even demarcated the area illegally without the consent and the approval from authorities on the ground, especially the Juba county commissioner and the ministry of housing and public utility,” Lukudu said.
The vice, he said, is becoming rampant in the area of Amadi which is 20 kilometers outside the capital.
“They forge tokens and give people tokens which are not approved by the commissioner of Juba County and the ministry of housing and public utility,” Lukudu said, noting that the plots are sold between 20,000 SSP and 30,000 SSP.
“That is main reason why the government went to the area and arrest 21 people together with tokens, stamp and even the money,” he said.

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