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Soroti mob pounces on govt surveyors

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th January 2005 03:00 AM

Three government surveyors were on Wednesday rushed to Soroti Hospital in a coma, after angry residents of Kamuda subcounty in Soroti hacked them over land.

Three government surveyors were on Wednesday rushed to Soroti Hospital in a coma, after angry residents of Kamuda subcounty in Soroti hacked them over land.

By J. Ekweu in Soroti
Three government surveyors were on Wednesday rushed to Soroti Hospital in a coma, after angry residents of Kamuda subcounty in Soroti hacked them over land.
The three out of six officials lay half-dead in a Police patrol truck that rescued them from the irate villagers who were armed with machettes, spears, and stones.
The Police identified the injured officials as John V. Lutaya, a senior surveyor with the ministry of water, lands and environment, Godfrey Katende, a driver in the same ministry, and Faucet Ekipu, a member of the area land committee. They suffered deep cuts on their heads. By press time, they were still in critical condition at Soroti hospital.
Kamuda sub-county chief Joseph Ediau sustained a deep cut on the forehead. The villagers also beat up an armed local government administration policeman to a coma. They also harassed the sub-county medical assistant and the sub-county NAADS worker.
“We had to break the vehicle lock so as to drive it to town,” the Soroti district lands officer, Edson Atwau who survived the beating, said.
He said the locals also destroyed survey tools. “This is very expensive equipment which districts like Soroti cannot afford. Moreover it was to be handed over to the district lands office after the exercise,” said Atwau.
Police CID chief Hillary Odoch said no arrests had been made.
Atwau said the officials were driving to Aminit in Kamuda to survey land for peasants for free, under a government project funded by World Bank.
The project piloted in Masaka, Ntungamo and Soroti and it is aimed at giving the poor an opportunity to own land titles without hassle.
Some 200 residents accused the officials of wanting to grab their land. They said they had not been educated on the programme.
The officials had on the previous day planted markstones to demarcate land boundaries in Aminit, a pilot parish, but were ambushed as they drove to Agulemado.
RDC Musa Ecweru tried to defuse the tension and ordered the suspension of the exercise till the locals were sensitised about it.
But Atwau said sensitisation had been going on since 2002.
“We published literature in English, Ateso and Kumam,” he said.
Ends

Soroti mob pounces on govt surveyors

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