Bitter Fight Erupts Between Two Clans Over Land In Pader District

One of the burnt out huts

One of the burnt out huts

A fight that erupted between two clans over land nearly led to the lost of lives in Atoo Parish, Lapul Sub-county in Pader district during the festive season.

Houses were burnt, millet and maize from granaries were destroyed as clan members from Pagol and Pajaa engaged each other a bitter fight.  Clan leaders eventually brought the conflict to an end by calling for an emergency inter clan meeting which was attended by over 156 people.

Odoch Jenasio from Pajaa clan claims that the land in question belonged to his deceased father who had passed it on to him.  However, Caroline Labol from Pagol clan also says that the land belonged to her late husband, but because she did not give bear the clan any boy children, she is being exploiting and intimidated.

“I run to my brother in law Rev Caesar Okot to seek help because I was over powered by Odoch” said Labol.

Rev Okot Caesar told the meeting that Odoch is using his brother Mr Phillip Labongo who is a police officer to scare them with a gun.   But Labongo refuted the allegation of intimidating anyone in the village, “speak to the Officer in Charge (OC) of Pajule Police station who will bear witness to the rules regarding the gun which is very strict.”

The meeting lasted several hours since each clan wanted their side to win; the LCIII of Lapul sub county who chaired the mediation meeting urged the residents not to argue out of emotion and demanded to know how the claimants got to own the land.

The meeting heard that Mr. Youlam Awuni the late father in law to Caroline Labol, initially gave the land to his good friend Mr Akic Benson in 1965 when the land he was living on was hit by floods and he had nowhere to plough on.  Awuni and Akic married from the same family.

“I used to pass here in 1954 while I was schooling at Pajule Lacani Primary School and by that time this land was communal and it’s Mr Akic Benson who used to dig on this land,” said a resident Mr. Kitara Julius.

Tension started brewing when people retuned home from the camps.  The people from Pajaa clan started asking those from Pagol to show their mango tress, planted as demarcation showing that the land belonged to them.

Odoch reiterated that his father was a friend to the Pagol clan and only gave the land to his friend temporarily, and urged them to stop listening to people who want to sabotage things.

Pagol clan members also levied allegations against Odoch who they say is bent on renting out land to foreigners and also wants to bring in some people from outside to occupy the land, something they will not accept.

“There is nothing better than respect, the call I received threading people’s lives was not good, if I hear any of you fighting Odoch’s children then I will face you myself,” said Mr. Kinyera Solomon Ibango the Chairperson, Lands Committee in Pagol Clan.

Mr. Mayanja Alfred the OC of Pajule Police station advised the two clans to work and stay together as one family as it was before. “Settling land issues in court is a waste of time and money, it requires you to move to court time and again.  Let this mediation meeting be a chance to forgive who ever wronged you,” he urged.

However, Rwot Samuel Anyawr of Pagol clan asked the person who burnt the hut come out and apologize because there were some traditional rituals which had to be done in order to correct the wrong that had been done.

By Odong Daniel