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LIRA: UPDF, Locals In Bitter Land Dispute

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Residents of Ogini village, patient Aloi Sub County, Alebtong district are demanding the immediate relocation of an army detachment from the area.

The aggrieved residents who have now petitioned the Alebtong district council say their demand follows encroachment by UPDF soldiers attached to the facility on their farm land.

Moroto County lawmaker Okwir Odwee who is the chief petitioner contends that despite endless reminders to the army leadership to reign in its personnel accused of encroaching on their farm lands, UPDF soldiers continue to tilt land belonging to locals without permission.

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Odwee Explains that the suggestion to have the detachment moved away from the area is meant to prevent souring of a relationship which is already at the point of breaking down between locals and soldiers.

He says errant soldiers who are accosted by residents to stop illegally using their land have in the past used threatening words to intimidate them.

George Okello, the Alebtong district council speaker acknowledges recieving the petition adding that it will be looked into and recommendations made concerning the issue.

Okello explains that he intends to dispatch a team to the contested area to gather more facts about the issue.

However, Captain Sam Emulunga, the 5th division army spokesperson downplays the allegations of soldiers illegally tilting land belonging to the locals.

Captain Emulunga insists the relationship between locals and the UPDF personnel at the Ogini detachment is excellent.

He blames local politicians for trying to create a rift between the UPDF and locals who have coexisted amicably for years.

Emulunga however explains that dialogue with the locals is the best avenue to resolve the stand off adding that the army wants a peaceful coexistence with locals in the area.

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