By Raymond Baguma
OVER 500 residents of Ongongoja and Usuk sub-counties in Katakwi district want President Yoweri Museveni to help them regain their ancestral land that was taken over by the Karimojong.
In the petition, the residents said they vacated their ancestral land in the 1970s at the height of violent raids by armed Karimojong warriors.
The petition, dated August 5, is also copied to the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister, ministers of Karamoja, Teso, as well as MPs from the Teso and Karamoja regions.
The communities say they vacated the land to escape raids by Karimojong warriors and stayed with relatives while others lived in internally displaced persons camps.
â€œAs a result, much land was left vacant until today.
â€œThis scenario has made some people assume that this land has no bona fide owners and if they exist, they have lost interest in the land,â€ the petition reads.
â€œThese assumptions are not true as the original landowners and / or their descendants had been displaced for a long time,â€ the petition reads.
The residents say the displacement by the warriors has denied them a source of livelihood and peace, which has increased their vulnerability to hunger and food shortages due to lack of cultivable land.
According to the petitioners, while peace and security have been restored following the disarmament programme, Katakwi district has been rocked by land wrangles incited by Karimojong leaders.
They accused Karimojong leaders from Napak district of mobilising and ferrying people in trucks and settling them in villages in Teso.
They add that the cattle raiders have also moved into Teso villages, which has discouraged people from returning to their land.