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Moroto Residents Accuse UPDF 3rd Infantry Division of Land Grabbing

John Robert Jaka, the Rupa Sub County Area Land Committee chairperson and former LC 3 Chairperson told URN that they have informed the UPDF leadership about the unlawful extension of the boundary but nothing has been done to solve the impasse.

Audio 3

The UPDF 3rd Infantry Division is under the spotlight for allegedly grabbing an estimated 600 acres of land in Acholi Inn in Rupa Sub County in Moroto district. This has triggered panic 600 people fearing eviction from their homes. 

A section of the affected people claims that in 2016, the UPDF 3rd Division Headquarters decided to extend its boundaries into their land.   The army allegedly forcefully planted stone marks outside the boundary encroaching on community land measuring about 70 acres. 

The land in Question stretches from Moroto Municipal Primary in Moroto Municipal Council through Acholi Inn towards Rupa Sub County. John Robert Jaka, the Rupa Sub County Area Land Committee chairperson and former LC 3 Chairperson told URN that they have informed the UPDF leadership about the unlawful extension of the boundary but nothing has been done to solve the impasse.

//Cue in: “This land is ...

Cue out: ...of compensation.”//

Hawa Modo, a mother of six says they have petitioned President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to intervene in the matter because their attempts to engage UPDF have not yielded any fruits. She says that she was shocked recently when the UPDF stopped her from building a house on her customary land claiming that it belongs to the UPDF.

//Cue in: Every time they would ...

Cue out: ...many years ago.”//

She says it’s unfortunate that the UPDF that should protect the people is involved in land grabbing. Regina Akwii, 102 and resident of Acholi Inn, says that they have lived on the land for many years and wants the government to save her land from being displaced.  

 

//Cue in: “Ebasi ebe ... 

Cue out: ... mam ne aloosi eong.”//

Raja, the chairperson of the Area Land Committee says that they are ready to take on the UPDF legally because it was their grandparents who donated land for the establishment of the military barracks for security purposes. He says the matter should be addressed such that people can develop their land. 

//Cue in: “What is it ... 

Cue out: ... another way of grabbing.”//

The UPDF 3RD Division Spokesperson, Capt. Edrin Mawanda refutes the allegations of land grabbing, saying that it’s the community instead that has encroached on the land for the institution. He said the UPDF has a land title for the area in question.

“The community has encroached on our land and we have informed higher authorities about it. It should be noted that we have a land title for that land, and there are mark stones, these are just grabbers." Moroto District Chairperson, David Koriang has urged the UPDF and the community to resolve the land dispute amicably.  

“Let them solve the issue on a round table. They can decide to open boundaries. We need both the community and security institutions to coexist,” he said in a phone interview. Currently, the UPDF has ordered the community to stop the construction of permanent houses on the contested land.

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