Patrick Ogweng the Deputy Town Clerk Lira Municipality has defended their forceful eviction arguing that the struggle by Lira Municipal council to evict the IDPs and dissolve this camp started 2007, a year after government dissolved all the IDP camps in Northern Uganda.
More than 300 people who were displaced by the Lord's Resistance Army -LRA led insurgency in Northern Uganda are now homeless after authorities razed their settlement at Railway Quarters A' Internally Displaced People's -IDP Camp.
Lira Municipal authorities demolished the houses, saying they were erected illegally on public land. The disputed land measuring close to two acres is found along Ngeta road next to the main gate of Lira Regional Referral Hospital.
The place was gazetted by Lira Municipal council to host IDPS from Lira and surrounding districts at the peak of the LRA-led insurgency in 2003. The settelent remained the sole operational camp several years after other IDP Camps in Lira were dissolved by government.
Lira Municipality Deputy Town Clerk Patrick Ogweng says that the plan to evict IDPs and dissolve the camp started 2007, a year after government dissolved all the IDP camps in Northern Uganda. He said latest eviction notice was issued to them on October 25, 2013.
Ogweng adds that the eviction is part of their master plan to restore order in the Municipality.
//Cue in: ‘'This land was…
Cue out: …in northern Uganda.''//
In line with the plan, law enforcement officers backed by the police on Tuesday stormed the IDP camp with a bulldozer and demolished all the huts and other structures being used as a shelter.
The glaring sights of the wailing victims attracted sympathizers as the bulldozer ravaged their household properties. Others, however struggled and were able to pick a few of their belongings. The affected residents stormed the Uganda Red Cross Offices in Lira to seek for temporary accommodation. However, they were turned away and spent the night inside Lira Baptist Church.
60-year old Maria Goretti Owani, one of the affected persons faults the Municipal authorities for failing to give ample time to the victims to organize and return to their respective homes.
//Cue in: (Luo) ‘'Aaah plan…
Cue out: …timo dano kitu.''
Jacinta Ongom, a widow says she is stranded and helpless with no place to accommodate her family.
//Cue in: (Luo) “Mom kong riki ca...
Cue out: …abedo dako to”//
Ruth Alobo, another affected persons welcomed the move saying that majority of the people
had stubbornly refused to go back to their villages to embark on productive activities.
//Cue in: ‘'Me on my side…
Cue out: …leave any time.''//
There were 42 IDP camps scattered throughout Lira District, with about l10 locate within Lira Municipality. All the camps were dissolved except this one. At least 1.4 million northern Ugandans were displaced to IDP camps at the height of the LRA insurgency.