AWEIL - MPs from Northern Bahr al Ghazal have discovered that disputed border areas which traditionally belonged to the South and had African names, have been renamed into Arabic names.
The MPs returned last week from a visit to the areas and are due to present a report of their findings to the national Parliament.
Ngong Deng Gum, who represents Northern Bahr al Ghazal, says the renaming of River Kiir into Bahr el Arab is only one example.
“In Abiem, there is a place called Mameer which they have renamed Mareim. In Aweil and Aweil West counties, an area along the river which was called Pan-theer Akol has now been named Abu-Matherek. All these places were our ancestral home areas”, Ngong explained.
Akol Diing Diing of Aweil East says he, too, noticed that certain areas have been given new, Arabic, names.
“We have four routes that lead to Mareim and up to North Sudan’s towns. One place is called Majok-Agor and another Mayom-Amam but they have taken over these areas,” Diing said.
Deng Nguach, another MP representing Aweil West, accuses Arab nomads of seizing control of South Sudanese towns and renaming them.
“In the Eyat community we have four routes that lead to Darfur. Some of the villages (along those routes) are close to Majak-Baai. These villages are being taken and renamed by Arab nomads. This is unacceptable,” he said.
The MPs suspect a hidden agenda by the Khartoum government to try and annex these places. They said they found that some areas have been annexed to South Kordofan state in Sudan, while others now belong to South Darfur.
The MPs say they want to form border committees in Parliament that will take up border disputes with Sudan.
They are due to share their findings with South Sudan’s chief negotiator at the Addis Ababa talks, Pagan Amum, when they return to Juba next week.