Gwalla Community of Bor county petitions South Sudan President Salva Kiir over a controversial land ownership

Members of Gwalla community of Bor County have voiced their community’s position to the president of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit over a controversial ownership of Malwal-Agorbar, a piece of land on the outskirt of Bor Town.

The land ownership is claimed by daughters of late Abdalla Bilal, also known as Lual Ayen, who used to be a Bor Town businessman in the old Sudan. Bilal’s daughters are married to some of the powerful and influential men in the land. A previous court ruling decided in favor of Bilal’s daughters, a judgement which the Gwala community believes was reached based on the influential roles played by some of Bilal’s daughters’ husbands.

An appeal court hearing will take place next week in Bor Town where Bilal’s daughters led by Zenab Bilal will battle it out with Gwalla traditional leaders.

Signed by 117 members of Gwalla Community in the Diaspora, the petition presents historical account behind the controversial land ownership and details of influential roles that might have been played by some of the powerful husbands of Bilal’s daughters. Below is the petition. 


Petition to H.E., First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan over the Land Ownership of Malwal-Agorbar, Bor County, Jonglei State  

CC. “ “Hon Speaker, Southern Sudan Parliament

 “ “H.E. Minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, GoSS

 “ “ H.E. Governor, Jonglei State

“ “ H.E. Chief Justice, South Sudan.

“ “ Hon Alier Riak Makol, Council of State, Khartoum

“ “ SPLM Secretary, Jonglei State

“ “ H.E. Commissioner, Bor County

“ “ Hon Gwalla Traditional Authority Leaders

“ “ Jonglei State Assembly

“ “ Hon June Malet and Ezra Mayom Ngong, Representatives of Kolnyang, Jonglei State Assembly


“ “ Police Commissioner, Jonglei State

“ “ ASCOM Oil Company

“ “ Media outlets.  

H. E. Mr President,

We, the undersigned members of Gwalla Community Diaspora, have watched with interest developments in our homeland- South Sudan since peace returned. We are satisfied with what we have seen: the strenuous endeavours you continue to make to establish peace among our various communities on the bases of unity, dignity and mutual respect, to realise security; and to maintain stability throughout the homeland. We are heartened by the steps you have taken along that path- the promulgation of Juba Declaration 2006; the incorporation of OAG into the SPLA; the continued organisation and training of the national army, including the recent much welcomed reorganisation of its leadership; and the most recent convening of the Kings, Paramount Chiefs and Traditional Leaders Conference that affirmed their role as partners with GoSS in governance. You are on record appealing for balanced development, fairness in the extension of services to the states and within the states; even-handedness in state dealings with citizenry and have formed the governors Forum to realise these goals and; finally but not least called for zero tolerance to corruption within the machinery of the state. You continue to look for opportunities for improvement in the performance of GoSS, as witnessed in the recent ministerial reshuffle. All the above resonate with us and with the citizenry across the board. We appreciate and affirm these steps as the best way to prepare our people for the upcoming elections and for the determination of their destiny by 2011. 

However, a few opportunists, fortune-hunters and spoilers of our unity throughout the 22 year history of the liberation struggle, the local close-knit associates of the former leadership of the movement have reared their ugly heads in Jonglei State. They are unlawfully grabbing land from the local population. They have allocated themselves and members of their families plot after plot while uprooting people without compensation or allocation; they have violated the agreement between the state and local communities by allocating residential plots, in rural community lands, to this rogue and criminal group outside the 5km (3 mile) radius agreed for Bor Town. Basically, the town population is being engineered while the historic owners are being told to go to the villages. This unlawful land grabbing includes acquiring areas by falsification as we addressed in this petition. We believe Malwal-Agorbar is just the tip of the iceberg to much sinister schemes that can make the already bleak security situation in Jonglei State worse.