N. Bahr el Ghazal: Protests as Chimel, Ajuet communities demand annexation to Aweil town
Hundreds of protesters belonging to Ajuet and Chimel communities in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State took to the streets on Thursday morning to demand their annexation to Aweil Town Council instead of Aweil West County.
The communities in the Gomjuer West and Gomjuer East Payams have been part of Aweil West County since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed between the then Sudan government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/ Army( SPLM/A).
When President Salva Kiir established 32 States, the two areas were curved from Aweil West County and annexed to the defunct Aweil State but after the revitalized peace agreement of 2018, the country reverted to the 10 states and there have since been tensions ever since the Riek Machar led SPLM-IO was allocated the gubernatorial administration of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.
The issue of the administrative boundaries caused First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, to order Northern Bahr el Ghazal State Governor Tong Akeen Ngor in a letter dated 31 October 2021 to allow the areas to report back to Aweil West County.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Thursday, the demonstrators rejected Dr. Machar’s order and said they want to be an inseparable part of Aweil town because their demand to be part of Aweil town commenced during colonial Britain’s entry into Northern Bahr el Ghazal.
“The people from the two areas have come out today to condemn the order from the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny who ordered state governor Tong Akeen Ngor to allow the areas report to Aweil West County. This is an old issue even dating back to the time when the British entered Northern Bahr el Ghazal State,’’ Samuel Garang, one of the demonstrators said.
Another demonstrator from the Ajuet community, James Yach, said their complaint has a historical background, saying that they are natives of Aweil town.
“Yes, we are protesting because we have been complaining about our land and the government says we are going to be taken to Aweil West County and yet we are not natives of Aweil West County, we are natives of this town (Aweil town),” Yach said.
The Northern Bahr el Ghazal State security adviser, Joseph Akook Aleu, said the peaceful protesters were demanding their annexation to Aweil town but that a boundary committee was expected from the national government to resolve the matter.
“The citizens are carrying out peaceful protests demanding their annexation to Aweil town instead of Aweil West County. It was earlier said that a boundary committee would arrive to resolve the matter and that committee is not in our responsibility,” Aleu said.