Returning temporarily to her home in 2005, Elizabeth found that her three commercial plots and two residential plots were occupied by soldiers. For the past seven years, Elizabeth has been travelling between the USA and South Sudan trying to get her land back. She has tried negotiating with the soldiers themselves, only to be verbally and physically threatened, resulting more than once in a gun being pointed at her. She has tried to get the local chiefs to support her but both say they can do nothing.
Failing to get justice through the customary system, she opened a case against the soldiers in the local County Court. Unable to afford a lawyer, she represented herself. At each court hearing Elizabeth reports that the soldiers came, dressed in full uniform, with many of their friends, also in military uniform, threatening her and trying to intimidate the judge. In early 2012, after spending more than 1,200 South Sudanese Pounds (US$300) on court ‘fees’, the judge ruled in her favour, agreeing with her claim that she was the rightful owner of three of these plots. Since then, however, she has been unable to get the court or the police to enforce the ruling and to evict the soldiers from her land. With no land to come home to and running out of money she is almost ready to give up on her land and on South Sudan.