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Gulu RDC urges landlords to help reduce land conflicts

GULU– Gulu Resident District Commissioner [RDC], George Owanyi Akuman has advised owners of large expanses of land to help reduce land conflicts by surrendering some of their land to squatters for the sake of peace.

This follows the arrest of businessman Geoffrey Otim who allegedly was behind the eviction of over 100 households in Loyoboo village, Unyama Subcounty in Gulu district over the weekend

The affected families took refuge at Unyama Subcounty headquarters after they were forcefully evicted from their homes, according to Justin Kidega, LCIII Chairperson of Unyama Subcounty.

Properties worth millions of shillings including 14 houses, over 20 acres of crops  were destroyed as cattle, sheep, chicken and goats were said to have been looted during the violent eviction on Saturday.

“You may have legal ownership of over 500 hectares of land; but of what use is it if u cannot enjoy vacant possession of this land if over 30 families who are your immediate neigbours and have lived there for over 30 years are in conflict with you?” He wondered.

He advised the landowners to instead find amicable ways of co-existing with their neighbours.

“If it was me, I would rather forfeit some 30 acres to “buy my peace” and productively utilize and enjoy the residual land. That is just my personal opinion, I’m not speaking as RDC,” he said in an interview with this reporter on Monday.

Akuman said he has recently handled about four such cases where landowners want to evict many people who have lived on a particular piece of land for a long time.

Otim is being charged with malicious damage to property, defying Presidential directives on eviction of people who have lived on an area for several years and personally effecting a court order without the involvement of district security committee.

In February 2022, President Museveni banned all land evictions that are not cleared by respective District Security Committees [DSCs].

District Security Committees are chaired by RDCs.

Reports say that the suspect, Otim has since 2014 been wrangling over ownership of the 2,000 acres of land with the over 100 households.

Otim was arrested on Sunday on the orders of the RDC, Akuman.

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