Pader Locals Locked In Fight Over 500 Acre Land

A dispute over a 500-acre piece of land in Lunyiri West Village in Awere sub county in Pader district has turned violent.

The land in question was reportedly a communal grazing land until 1987 when suspected Karamjong rustlers raided and stole dozens of heads of cattle from local cattle keepers.

Some accounts say at least 1,200 heads of cattle belonging to 400 households grazed on the land in question before the animals were stolen.

On Friday last week, at least five families on the land were forced to seek refuge at Rackoko Police Post in Awere Sub County also in Pader district after they were attacked by an estimated 100 youth armed with axes and machetes.

A grass-thatched hut was set ablaze in the ensuring scuffle.

Justine Moro Komakech, the Chairperson Lunyiri Communal and Grazing Land said the land belongs to his clan(Lunyiri).

Komakech claims that since 1947, not a single person had settled on the said land until 2009, when Alfonse Onen and Augustine Oryem started building houses there.

Onen and Oryem, however deny any wrong doing. They instead accused Komakech for fueling land conflict in the area by grabbing their ancestral land.

Komakech also claims that in 2018 he secured power of attorney over the land from Gulu Magistrate’s Court.

Cecilia Acan, the District Woman Councilor V for Awere Sub County, told our reporter that the land in question covers apart of three other villages. Acan named these villages as Lunyiri East, Opete and Laliya.

Acan said after the attacked by the youth of occupants on the land, 10 children fled to Rackoko police for of their life. She adds that attempts by Pader district officials including the office of the Resident District Commissioner and LC V Chairperson to resolve the conflict has failed.

Similar disputes over what was once grazing grounds have been reported in Lamwo, Kitgum, Agago and Amuru districts.