Two dead, scores injured in fierce Zombo land dispute

Zombo, (UG): At least two people were confirmed dead and several others left nursing critical injuries at Nyapea Hospital following a fierce land dispute involving the Owenjo Jupacida and Paronya clans in Zombo District.

The incident happened at around 5:30 pm on November 28, at Paronya Village, Afuda Parish Jangokoro Sub-county Zombo District.

By Wednesday morning, security officers comprising of army and field force unit policemen combed the villages of Ogalo and Omoko in Jangokoro Subcounty which is majorly occupied by the clan members of Owenjo Jupacida who are said to have mercilessly attacked the Paronya clan clashing over the much-contested chunk of land whose dimensions were yet to be established by this publication. 

Ogalo and Omoko villages are majorly occupied by the clan members of the Owenjo Jupacida clan who intermittently share a reasonably similar ancestral background with the Paronya clan in the West Nile Zombo district.

In the fierce dispute, more than 10 houses were torched as of Wednesday morning while several women and children are currently seeking asylum in the neighbourhoods of Pavur, Padea, Pakadha and Palei villages as retaliation energy evolves in the Paronya communities and their extended families notwithstanding the security deployment.

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The Cause of Dispute

This publication has established that the contested land was formerly under customary land ownership of the ancestors whose current lineage roots to the Jupachida community and qualifies the paronya as settlers who were close allies of the ancestors but are now integrated as part of the family of the cradle sons and daughters.

Due to divided interests on the land, the Jupachida advocated for customary ownership and land usage of browsing animals and the Paronya advocated for land-titled deeds that would allow partition and cultivation of the land.

It’s upon this backdrop that the community of Paronya filed a lawsuit in the magisterial court of Paidha and pursued litigation processes that witnessed case referrals to better-placed court circuits in handling land conflicts within the district and West Nile region all in the search and interest of justice and fairness.

And It was only early this year, that after several struggles the court ruled against the Paronya community, with costs attached and a court order of evacuation from the contested land, but all appeared that not any of the recommendations and the ruling was effected.

As the Paronya community kept on cultivating the contested land and occasionally the Jupachida clan members alleged that they were threatened and mudslinger, the climax reached on Monday when the Paronya openly displayed their rudimentary tools and weapons to wedge attack, this triggered the devil in the Jupachida clan members who attacked the Paronya, killing two people and torching some houses.

The energy of this publication to engage the Paronya community members was futile as they only reckoned vengeance.

According to a village vigilante who spoke to DailyExpress and preferred anonymity due to the sensitivity of the report, the two communities for so many years have been in a fierce cat-and-mouse relationship over some chunk of land and this particular scenario ensued after a herdsman from Jupacida community, grazing animals on the contested land was drove off by the later attacked community.

“we the Communities of Jangokoro subcounty are very tired of land dispute, costing the lives of our people, let us adopt dialogue and reconciliation processes,” the vigilante lamented.

It’s also reported that on  Wednesday morning the community members of Paronya stealthily crossed and set ablaze some grass-thatched houses belonging to the Jupachida clan members, in retaliation of the death of  Hillary Odubu and Angelina Thikulu their community members.

 Several adults and children were spotted seeking asylum in the neighbouring communities and villages in close proximity to Ogalo and Omoko respectively, Mr Gilbert Lenga, the LC1 Chairperson of Pavur village, acknowledged receiving some asylum seekers, women  children and noted that several properties have been ravaged in the burnt houses.

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Land dispute is now a common norm among communities in Zombo district and the offices of RDC and the prime minister of Alur kingdom are seemingly overwhelmed by the land cases that in most scenarios culminate in the death of people which appeals for urgent peaceful reconciliation means to avert future aggressions.

The Ogalo -Paronya dispute comes into play before the dust of the Mudhel and Yil disputes have barely settled.

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