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Land violence in Amuru disposes widows of property rights

AMURU– Hundreds of widows from Amuru have been disposed of property rights and ownership as land violence escalates in the district, scaling down their livelihood that is derived from agricultural production.

A report authored by Redeem International indicates that1038 cases of land violence against widows in the district were registered in the last 16 months.

The report further revealed that 53 cases ended up in courts with a total of 42 alleged perpetrators of the crime were apprehended while 550 hectares of land recovered through litigation processes.

The report was unveiled on Thursday afternoon in Gulu at the Commemoration of the International Widows Day as land violence affecting women in the production dominates the discussions.

However, the victims of the situation have asked the government for legal protection, mainly to help the widows own land and invest in production for equal economic empowerment.

Paska Aketo, 70, the elderly woman of 10 children from Opara Subcounty in Langeta Parish is among the thousands of women affected by the land violence in the district.

Aketo says she was evicted from her marital land 21 years ago, a month later after her husband died while struggling to resettle back home after moving from the internally displaced people’s camps.

Besides eviction, Aketo explained that all her properties were looted by her in-laws which include six head of cattle with several destructions on crops as she struggled for justice.

Meanwhile, her case was recently disposed of from the civil court in Gulu as she gained control of the land measuring about 400 hectares.

The Programme Manager Redeem International James Komakech, an International Organization advocating for land rights protection in the region described the trends as worrying for agricultural production.

His counterpart David Komakech, the Program Manager Action Aid Uganda Gulu Cluster blamed the situation on the weaknesses of the law enforcement.

Komakech noted that most of the files of land violence reported to police often disappear and police have always been reluctant to investigate complaints arising from land conflicts.

“Sometimes the police will ask a complainant to fuel the vehicle to reach the scene of crime which is a systematic problem in the law that needs to be addressed “Komakech added.

The Aswa River Regional Police Commander Nachuha Damalie could not dispel the claim but noted that police always advise the aggrieved parties to settle land-related cases through mediation.

The report by Advance Africa, a nongovernmental organization working with Uganda Prisons Services in Northern Uganda revealed that 37 percent of convictions arise from land-related conflicts which is more than any other crime committed in the region.

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