Land Conflicts Hinder Mucwini Massacre Reconciliation Efforts

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In short
Efforts to reconcile the two communities of Pubec and Pujong in Mucwini sub-county, Kitgum district may not move if the standoff over the land is not resolved.

Efforts to reconcile the two communities of Pubec and Pujong in Mucwini sub-county, Kitgum district may not move if the standoff over the land is not resolved.

Reports from the area indicate that, close to 10 years after the 2002 LRA massacre in which 56 people died, the situation is still tense. The massacre followed an incident, in which a one Katende Otim, who had been abducted by the LRA rebels, escaped from the bush with a gun, after reportedly telling the rebels that he was from the Pujong clan. The rebels came looking for the escapee and the members of his supposed clan.

But the conflict over land reportedly started way back in early 1990s, when members of Pubec clan started dividing the land that was given to them by Pujong clan for settlement.

Ensio Onyango, the chairperson of Mucwini Massacre Survivors Association says the conflict started long before the massacre and culminated with the killing of 56 people.
According to him, Otim deliberately told Kony rebels that he was from clan of Pujong as a tactic to have the members of that clan attacked by the rebels.

Onyango however says it is unfortunate that people who were not part of the conflict ended up being murdered as well.

Cue in: “pubic and pajong…”
Cue out: “minding about it”

Titus Okello, son of late Emmanuel Okello who led the team of Pujong clan when the land conflict escalated, agrees with the chairperson. Okello says his father was particularly targeted by Otim because he led the clan of Pujong at the time of the conflict.

He however, acknowledges that though they have forgiven the people of Pubec, the family members have not been allowed to resettle on their former piece of land.

Cue in: “up to now there are some”
Cue out: “…we have forgiven them”

The members of Pubec clan have not yet commented on the standoff over the land.
Though survivors seem to have found a soft heart for the families of the Pubec clan, the situation is far from being resolved.

The 48 families of Pubec have never been allowed to resettle on the piece of land they occupied prior to the massacre.

Kitgum Resident District Commissioner, Santa Okot Lapolo acknowledges the complications in attempting to settle the matter. Lapolo says the land conflict has overridden the massacre and there is need for reconciliation.

He accuses the community of Pujong of using the massacre to settle their long standing land conflict. He says they have used the massacre to deny members of Pubec family access to their land.

Cue in: “the issue of land conflict has…”
Cue out: “…leadership of this country”

Lapolo however acknowledges that the issue must be resolved to avoid more escalations of the conflict.

 

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