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Gulu displaced in dispute over land

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th January 2009 03:00 AM

INTERNALLY displaced persons (IDPs) in Omel camp in Paicho sub-county, Gulu district over the weekend held 13 people hostage overnight over a disputed piece of land.

By Chris Ocowun

INTERNALLY displaced persons (IDPs) in Omel camp in Paicho sub-county, Gulu district over the weekend held 13 people hostage overnight over a disputed piece of land.

The 13 are relatives of the late Solomon Amone who was a district treasurer during the Idi Amin regime.

The relatives were led by Martin Calo, a brother to Amone and William Omony a son to Amone. They were waylaid near the land estimated to be 2,000 acres.
The relatives claim the land was given to Amone in 1976, but his family was displaced by the LRA war in 1996.

However, the IDPs said the land was given to Amone illegally. They said the land that was grabbed during Amin’s regime, should not be claimed when the National Resistance Movement is in power. The 13 were eventually handed over to the Police.

The LC1 chairman, Christopher Ongom, said: “They were told never to step in Omel Bar village since their father, Amone, acquired the land by force in the 1970s. At that time, somebody was killed and people’s crops were destroyed.”

Ongom added that on October 27, 2008, Calo led Police constables to Omel IDP camp and arrested six people including himself (Ongom) over the disputed land.

Calo told a meeting at the camp that it was not the first time the community of Omel Bar was stopping them from returning to their brother’s land.

He said in April last year, the community of Ker Rac Ci Rac camp stormed their home and ordered them to leave.
“They destroyed the huts we had erected, and poured food which was cooking,” he said.

Calo stated that his brother acquired the land for farming in 1976 through the land board.

Mathew Okot, 70, who claimed the land belonged to him, said Amone did not acquire the land rightfully.

He said his father Oyero Lakuna was tortured to death in the process.
“By the time we were fleeing to the camps due to the LRA attacks, Amone had already left the land,” Okot explained.

Omel Bar residents said the lease offer acquired by Amone expired long time ago. They added that as per the current Constitution, the land had to revert to the community.

Mzee Binansio Amone Abonga, a clan chief, said the land belonged to the community of Omel Bar.

He said during Amin’s regime a lot of things were grabbed from individuals.
The meeting resolved that Amone’s relatives should not go to the land until the dispute was settled.

Gulu displaced in dispute over land

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