NEBBI. The locals of Angule clan in Ndhew sub county, Nebbi district have been denied access to the land they have settled on for years after a dispute with the members of Acer community.
On May 15, 2018, the two communities clashed over the ownership of an estimated 500 acre piece of land which is said to be used by the people of Angule.
The fight left one person dead, food crops and other property worth millions of shillings destroyed in the process.
Since then, the residents of Angule were pushed out of the contested land by their Acer counterparts and up to date, they have been denied access to their ancestral homes.
Reports indicate that the fight over the piece of land started some 15 years ago with both parties failing to resolve the matter.
It is however, alleged that the Acer community attacked Agule residents following a court summon over the disputed land and ended up destroying their property.
In revenge, the Agule community members followed one of the sons of Acer with bows and arrows, killing him instantly as he was digging part of the disputed piece of land.
According to Mr Harold Orombi, a member of the community, the land disputes is negatively impacting on the two communities economically and socially, an act he said calls for justice and reconciliation.
“We can’t farm and give our families the basic needs they want since we are no longer settled on our land which used to be our main source of livelihood as we are now sheltered by our relatives far away from our homes,” Orombi narrated.
Orombi said their food crops and house hold properties were all looted and destroyed during the attack, adding that they have been denied access to the land they were depending on for everything.
He said the situation has forced their young girls to get married at tender age just for survival.
When contacted for a comment, Mr Bosco Okwai, the LC I chairman of Acer village acknowledged that all the properties which were left behind by the people of Angule have been sold off by his members since they were illegally settled on their (Acer community) land.
“It is true that my people sold off the property left by the people of Agule because they illegally obtained them on our land and for that reason, we want to strongly warn them never to return to that land again,” Okwai stressed.
However, Mr Fred Ahimbisibwe, the Nebbi district police commander noted that the matter is still under investigation but insisted that the five people who were arrested in connection with the murder of the local were taken to court and later released on bail.
Ahimbisibwe urged elders of the two communities to be open and speak the truth about the disputed land instead of punishing one side.
“Police will never settle land cases but it is the collective responsibilities of various stakeholders at the grass root level to sort out land related differences,” Ahimbisibwe advised.
But the Nebbi Grade One Magistrate, Mr Edgar Tibayeita Tusiime said at least 80 percent of all land cases in Nebbi court have remained unresolved.
Tibayeita made the remark during a recent dialogue meeting organized by Action Aid at Gaf hotel in Nebbi town.
He observed that some of the land cases lacked witnesses to testify in court while others need more investigation.