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APAA LAND CONFLICT: Police finally release 10 suspects held over criminal trespass

Apaa Region

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The police in Adjumani on Thursday (yesterday) finally released 10 residents of Zoka B, in Aliwara village, Mungula parish in Itirikwa Sub County who have been arrested with connection to criminal trespass.

The group who were arrested on Sunday, October 10, 2021, and held until yesterday after the resident state attorney ordered for further investigations as the evidence brought against them could not stand the charge.

The group allegedly trespassed on the land of one identified as Ojera who has filed a case at Adjumani central police station under SD reference CRB 580/2021.

The police CID boss Adjumani Habumuremyi Aroise said the 10 suspects were picked from Zoka B, the area where they were found digging on the land of the complainant Ojera and further explained that the complainant has proof of land ownership

On why the suspects have been detained for 15 days which is beyond the 48 hours as mandated by the constitution, the CID boss said, the suspects did not ask for bond and their relatives did not also show up, therefore nobody should blame the police.

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He informed journalists that more 17, other suspects were arrested over the same complaint, but he has also ordered for their release.

The Ali clan chief Chandiga Ben who is the custodian of the land in question described Ojara as a fraudster because his land agreement dated only November 2006, indicates the 826 hectares of land is located in Apaa, Amuru district.

Chief Chandiga Ben said he wonders why residents of Aliwara village in the Ngoro area, Zoka B, which is in the Adjumani district are being detained over a piece of land in his chiefdom.

The Chairperson for LCIII Association in Adjumani Dramwi Robert said the complainant Ojara is being used as an undercover agent by giant land grabbers in the Acholi sub-region which is why the police do not want to interest themselves in full investigations.

Dramwi Robert said it is on record that Ojara pays each police officer shs 50.000 for arresting a suspect, besides the police in Zoka C; barracks do not want to pay allegiance to authorities in Adjumani claiming the barracks is located in Amuru district.

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The land conflict in Apaa is not about to end as several government efforts including the inter-ministerial committee, a parliamentary committee, and office of the prime minister aimed at resolving the matter have not yielded.

President Yoweri Museveni has since then taken up the matter and met both leaders from Amuru and Adjumani and the last meeting that brings leaders from the two districts is yet to be convened.

The conflict has claimed scores of lives, several properties destroyed and to date, the two communities of Madi and Acholi in the area are living in mutual suspicion and fear.

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