PAKWACH. Police in Pakwach district on Monday stopped a planned demonstration at the Pakwach Bridge by Alur community farming on a disputed land in Nwoya district.

The demonstrators numbering to over 200 said they had planned to demonstrate against the delayed investigations into their evictions and killing of five of their colleagues a fortnight ago at Obira village, Purongo sub-county in Nwoya district.

The police which was joined by Uganda People’s defense forces (UPDF) said the demonstrators failed to abide by the standard operating procedures to stop the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Frank Muzoora, the Pakwach district police commander said whereas the leaders notified police in writing, they later declined to accept their request on getting intelligence reports that the crowd was huge and could attract more locals.

"We got information that almost the entire community were advancing to Pakwach for demonstration, we have stopped them and ordered them to go back because allowing them to proceed would be too dangerous”, Muzoora said.

Mr Norbert Gaspero, the area leader and a resident of Pacer said they embarked on the journey from 6:30am but only to be stopped at about 9:00am with older persons and children enduring the journey and hunger.

He said they also planned to seek for answers why Nwoya district authorities confiscated and burnt all their National Identity Cards and why police from the district failed to come to their rescue.

"We are still in panic but we want to show our bitterness and anger to the government, all our valuables like motorcycles and solar panels were confiscated, we were harassed and beaten by soldiers, we need our properties because we got them out of our sweat”, he said.

They demanded that the perpetrators behind the violent attacks be arrested and tried before a competent court to ensure justice is served.

The aggrieved protesters

The community is also concern about continued statements coming from the Nwoya district land board that Alur community does not own land in Nwoya which they said directly affects their human existence.

“That is a threat which affects our livelihood and we request cultural leaders both from Acholi and Jonam to perform rituals to ascertain the true ownership of the disputed land”, Gaspero added.

The Jonam cultural leaders in a press briefing on Monday, maintained that the land in contention historically belongs to Jonam and the community have right to farm freely without any form of harassment.

Mr Benjamin Lyech Onule, a Jonam elder said government should crosscheck with the colonial map as a benchmark for clarity in the border resolutions.

However, Mr Charles Orombi Othober, the chairperson Ker Kwaro Jonam questioned the delayed government intervention into the matter.

"The moment we are divided and government identifies hidden actors in this, we shall overcome this dispute. We are appealing to the president to come personally into this matter and involve us the cultural leaders", Othober appealed.

In phone interview, Mr Okello Oryem, the Nwoya district chairman accused politicians in Pakwach district of instigating the conflicts by spreading false propaganda.

"Let the leaders tell the truth to those staying and farming on the land and above all, let them have total allegiance to the authority of Nwoya district", he said.

He maintained that administratively, the boundary between Pakwach and Nwoya is the Nile behind the Pakwach Bridge and warned the affected community in Nwoya to desist from using history to claim land in Nwoya.

Four people were shot and killed on spot and one more died last week from Nebbi hospital where he was being treated bringing the death toll to five and hundreds displaced.