ZOMBO. Police in Zombo has arrested at least 16 suspects in connection with a violent inter-clan land clash that left 25 houses torched.
The clashes have also left over 200 people displaced and property worth millions of shillings destroyed in Aka Sub County, Zombo district.
The Jupaceno and Jupada clans exchanged bows and arrows on Monday evening after a long dispute over a stretch of land located in Gwok-nyeri village, Abanga parish.
The Jupada clan are said to have hosted the Jupaceno clan on their land for decades and eventually took possession of pieces of land which their host is contesting at Paidha Magistrate’s court.
According to sources within the district security committee, the Jupaceno clan has more educated sons and daughters working within and outside Uganda and have in most cases facilitated legal moves to challenge the Jupada clan over the disputed land.
Mr Alex Paul Wanzala, the officer in charge criminal investigation in Zombo district said at least 16 people were arrested by the police following the violent clashes.
“These suspects we brought along with us will help the police with investigations into the incident that also left three people injured”, he said.
Wanzala said it took the intervention of the police and army to bring sanity to the area.
Mr Andrew Kajoyingi, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Zombo condemned the act and said the suspects who have been arrested will sort themselves out in the courts of law.
He also warned sub-county chairpersons against delay in reporting crimes even when the situation is wanting like in the case of Aka sub-county inter-clan clashes over land that was not reported in time.
“Imagine my office and that of the police did not receive any report about the violent clashes that was going on in Aka Sub County and yet we have the sub-county chairman who should have informed security personnel by virtue that the sub-county chairperson is the head of the security committee in his or her sub-county”, he complained.
He said it was a responsible person from the Alur land living in Kampala who informed him on phone of what was going on in Aka Sub County.
Kajoyingi also expressed disappointment with the courts of law that he claimed sometimes release hardcore suspects who continue to cause troubles.
He said some of the suspects arrested by the police had earlier on been granted court bail over the same land after they incited violence in which seven houses were burnt in February this year.
“The independence of the court is also to blame for the continuous land conflicts because some of the people they release on bail are actually hardcore criminals who cannot reform”, he said.
Mr Felix Orom Amuda, the chairman Aka sub-county told the West Nile Web in a telephone interview that it has been a long-standing land dispute between the warring parties and the matter was already before the magistrate’s court in Paidha.
He, however, denied delay in notifying the police in the course of the violent clashes on Monday evening and said all security actors in the district have been aware of the said land wrangle in Aka Sub County.
Amuda also appealed to the residents of Aka Sub County to respect the intervention of local councils and elders in resolving land matters because they have a better knowledge of local boundaries.
There are numerous land related court cases not only in Aka but the entire district with the magistrate’s court which is being overwhelmed by the cases but also the local council 1 and the sub-county courts.
Some residents have attributed the continuous land conflicts to lack of trust in legal intervention and the elders who are said to favor the financially powerful litigants.