A maize farm in Kanajak village in Aweil East County. [Gurtong/ Agoth Abraham]
By Agoth Abraham
JUBA, 25 July 2012 [Gurtong] – They have lodged a complaint with the town Mayor James Arol over the issue.
In a letter to the Mayor, the residents complained that cultivation has been greatly affected as returnees have intruded on their farmland.
The farmers met the town Mayor during his visit to Wanyjok, the headquarters of Aweil East County.
“We the residents of Aweil East County have complained that returnees’ camps are intruding on our farmland, which has limited cultivation this year”, stated the letter.
This came after the Aweil Mayor visited returnees’ camps at Kanajak to assesstheir living conditions and talk to the residents of the area.
One of the residents told the gathering that they have not cultivated this year because returnees have been settled on their farms by the state authorities.
He explained that they are facing problems as the returnees in the camps receive assistance from humanitarian organisations.
Arol urged the state government to reallocate the returnees to unoccupied areas in order to allow both residents and returnees to cultivate.
Areas around Aweil and some other towns in the state have seen rapid urbanisation caused in part by the influx of returnees from Sudan.
Many of the newcomers fled to Sudan from villages elsewhere in the state decades ago and are reluctant to return to a rural lifestyle.
Arol reiterated the seriousness of prioritising farming as the only way of combating hunger in South Sudan.