By Staff Writer
January 23, 2017 (SSB) —- Tension rose high in Lou Ariik County over the governor’s attempt to change name of the county to Alabek after some individual politicians lobbied him to erase the old traditional and territorial name that the area has been known for so long.
In Mid last year President Salva Kiir decreed the creation of 19 counties in Tonj State of which Lou Ariik is one of them. Later some politicians in the area complain to Governor Akec Tong Aleu to accept the change of name to Alabek, the town center in the area that serves as the administrative seat for the commissioner.
However, the attempt has caused dispute among the community members and executive chiefs in the area. “Our community is going to witness a disaster because of change of name. We will not accept the change from Lou Ariik County to Alabek whatsoever the case. I have just come from the area but people are in high fear and tension because the community is divided into clans and the area is polarized,” said one of the elder who asked for anonymity.
“We have been known for years with this name. I just don’t know what the problem is today? Did our children go to school to come back and change our historical and traditional names? They have targeted one clan that is: ‘Pateek’ over the name because Ariik is an ancestral father to Pateek. Some people have wanted to erase history but that is not acceptable,” he added.
Early in the month the flag bearing the name Lou Ariik County was gun down in front of the county’s administrative Centre and burned it to ashes while the state government failed to arrest the culprits that have committed that crime.
One of the SPLA high ranking officers is accused of having ordered some local youths (gelweng) after he had distributed to them some ammunition and guns to attack members of Pateek Clan in the community.
Commissioner Deng Majok Deng has confirmed that he has presented the list of those involved in burning the flag and those who had distributed the ammunitions yet, there was no move of arrest that the government has done. The commissioner who is now in Wau city is in fear to return to the county.
So far the figures accused of behind the change of name are said to be, a businessman Mr. Abur Chol Chol who also acts as a community leader for the area. Andrea Aguer Ariik Malueth is also accused of mobilizing youths of other clans against Pateek community.
Last week the community conducted a conference in Lou Ariik County to discuss the dispute over which name to be used, however, sources said that the conference did not bring the two sides to agree on one name instead one family of Pan Ariik was targeted and accused of being the one spearheading the matter leaving the problem behind unsolved.
“The problem was not solved, it was only Abur Chol and Mawien Dhor who attacked each other in accusations and the conference was not participatory. No man was allowed to talk freely. The governor thought the problem has ended but the tension is now hiking in the county.
Abur now is accused of having instructed the commissioner to go home and raise the Flag bearing the name of Alabek County but that will bring a very big dispute because the Presidential Decree for Lou Ariik County is still alive and has not been cancelled,” said Kuol Mawien a youth member from Pateek Clan.
Members of the clan have bowed that Presidential decree cannot be easily averted like the way Governor Akec Tong is trying to do. “The case for Lou Ariik is not as easy as other people assumed. It will need a special court that must address the case. We want these people to present their complaints in a court of law before the change of name,” another youth added.
Youth urged President Kiir and The Council of States in Juba never to allow any person to temper with the change of Lou Ariik County to Alabek. “We accept that Alabek remains as a county’s headquarters but not a county’s name.”
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