PAKWACH. Three people have been reported dead and scores of others injured after a scuffle involving gun carrying personnel in UPDF uniforms and the local Alur population.
The uniformed attackers are said to have burnt houses, looted food stuff and beat up the locals. The locals acting in self-defense tried to repulse the attack using bows and arrows.
The dead were thus shot in the ensuing scuffle and the injured have been rushed to Pakwach health center IV for treatment.
The locals accuse Lt Gen Charles Otema Awany, the commander of the reserve force in the Uganda peoples defence force (UPDF) of being behind the brutal eviction and murders.
"The six violent armed men asked why we are still farming on the general’s (Otema) land and beating soon ensured; due to excessive pain and torture of burning properties, the community started clashing with the soldiers and they killed three men instantly” narrated Mr Collins Oketwungu, the village chairperson Obira village.
He said the land problem had dragged on between the alleged squatters and the owners for a long time without any amicable solution but appealed to government to intervene and punish the soldiers involved in the shooting.
The village chairperson confirmed that the remaining farmers were living in fear due to possible re-attack at night saying their efforts for immediate assistance from Nwoya district local government had been futile.
Mr Peter Oliel, a resident of Parombo in Nebbi district who sustained a fractured leg accused Nwoya district administration of reluctance in handling the issue of the contested land whenever brought to their attention.
Mr Robert Omito Steen, the Pakwach district chairperson also blamed the security teams in the two districts of reluctance and paying a deaf ear to the long standing problem.
Omito who visited the injured at Pakwach health IV said following earlier evictions and destruction of property by alleged soldiers, he had written to the office of the president to intervene.
In a phone interview over the matter, Maj Ceasar Olweny, the UPDF fourth division spokesperson condemned the act but could neither deny nor confirm the involvement of the UPDF.
"Let me try to get the details through the intelligence on ground, I’m not denying but it’s very unfortunate", Maj Olweny said.
This is not the first time that the Alur community in Nwoya side is being victimized, in 2018, scores were injured and others evicted from the area by gun wilding men claiming to be acting on orders of Lt Gen Otema. Their houses were razed down by a grader and ordered to vacate the area.