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Catholic Bishop in South Sudan Decries Land Grabbing Menace, Urges “peaceful coexistence”

Bishop Alex Lodiong Sakor Eyobo of South Sudan's Yei Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

There is need for authorities in South Sudan to put an end to the menace of land grabbing, Bishop Alex Lodiong Sakor Eyobo of Yei Diocese has said. 

Speaking during his pastoral visit to St. Lazarus Chapel of Yei Diocese on November 26, Bishop Lodiong said ending the practice of “taking land by force” will foster peace in the East-Central African nation. 

There are people who are taking advantage of the conflict in the country to seize land because they know some of the landowners are in refugee camps,” he said, and added, “No one has the right to seize land and evict people from their ancestral lands.”

Bishop Lodiong went on to pose, “Why are you taking land by force? After grabbing the land, where do you expect people to live?”

Persistent land grabbing, the Catholic Bishop said, will scare people in refugee camps from returning to their communities.

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“Anyone who grabs people’s land given to them by God will not have peace in their lives,” he further said. 

Reflecting on the plight of the refugees in neighboring countries, the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop said, “The life of our people in the refugee camps is miserable; they are planning to come back.” 

“These people will not remain in these camps forever; they will come back if the country is stable,” the 51-year-old Catholic Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry on May 15 said, and posed in reference to returnees, “If they come and find out that their land has been grabbed, what do you think would happen?”

“It will bring another conflict within our communities,” he added.

The Church leader said authorities need to “prepare a good place” for refugees to return, and resume their usual activities.

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