Seven Arrested over Katakwi, Napak Land Conflict

Seven people have been arrested in connection to a land dispute between Katakwi and Napak.

They were arrested after a security meeting chaired by the 3rd Division Commander in Komate village on Saturday.

Those arrested include the village chairperson, Phillip Logir and his vice Paul Lotee; Cisto Nyangan, the district councillor representing Poron sub-county in Napak district; Parish councillor of Omuturunyo, Simon Lochoro and former village chairman of Komate, Luka Aguma.

The five are all Bokora local leaders from Napak district.

From Katakwi, the army also arrested Bruno Babalanda and Nicholas Igira, all residents of Komate village. All the suspects are currently held at 3rd Division headquarters in n Moroto.

Maj. Peter Mugisa, the 3rd Division spokesman says the group will be screened and handed over to the police for investigations. He notes that two other leaders fled after hearing about the arrests.

Their arrest stems from the displacement of more than 250 people of Katakwi district by the Karimojong cattle thieves during separate attacks last week which left several residents homeless at Okameta in Napak. 

The group has been living in the area after buying land from the Bokora community in Napak district.

Several houses were burnt and property destroyed by the attackers who fled with six heads of cattle, 16 goats and other domestic animals.

The conflict stems from a piece of land measuring about 300 hectares where Iteso community have settled inside Napak district, along the border point. It is alleged that after selling land to the Iteso, some of the Bokora elites including local leaders mooted plans to recover the land.

Joseph Etinu, a resident of Okameta says that they no longer cultivate following continuous attacks from the Karimojong, whom he claims are armed. He notes that his neighbour, Simon Olupot is currently admitted to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital after he was beaten by the Karimojong.

“Since then, we got annoyed and decided to fight back. But we were defeated since Karimojong were armed with bows and arrows, spears and Pangas”, he said. 

Joseph Igela, the catechist at Ongongoja, where some residents have camped says life is too tough as people now depend on hand-outs from well-wisherss. He revealed that the affected families have only had two meals of cassava in the last three days.

The Katakwi Deputy RDC, Vincent Enomu says the district task force has provided some food relief to the affected communities. He notes that the district is arranging for a security meeting with the responsible authorities to intervene in the matter. 

The communities of Napak and Katakwi have been involved in land conflicts at the border for long. The land in the contention that lies at the border between the two districts had been abandoned by both communities due to Karimojong violence. But both communities started resettling in the same land recently after the disarmament of the Karimojong.

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