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Bukedea Residents Petition High Court Over Land Eviction

Reports in Court indicate that the land in question has been earmarked for a government project, whose specifics are however still concealed. But the petitioners say that the land was taken away by Bukedea Woman MP Anita Among for the construction of a State Lodge and the installation of a military barracks.
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Residents of Amujeju Village in Bukedea district have filed an application in Soroti High Court seeking legal redress over their eviction from and measuring more than 2,000 acres.

Reports in Court indicate that the land in question has been earmarked for a government project, whose specifics are however still concealed. But the petitioners say that the land was taken away by Bukedea Woman MP Anita Among for the construction of a State Lodge and the installation of a military barracks. 

More than 1,000 people were evicted from Amujeju in May 2019 by persons reported to have been hired by individuals including area leaders in Bukedea. Some of the affected residents were reportedly looted, tortured and sexually abused by the group hired during the two days of eviction.

The petitioners argue that government institutions including the police failed to come to their rescue even after making several calls to them. They are now suing government officials for complicity and failure to protect innocent civilians and their property from human rights violations stemming from an illegal eviction exercise.

The residents, led by Alfred Edeke, John Omongole, Celina Okello and 12 others have listed seven government officials whom they are accusing of negligence of duty and failure to provide justice when they sought their help. On the list is the Inspector General of Police, the Attorney General, and others; Michael Simanya, Moses Bwayo, Jackson Ojekede and Fred Ojepa. 

Last year, the Criminal Investigations department summoned former Bukedea District Police Commander, Ezra Tugume on allegations of corruption and bribery to aid the eviction exercise and failure to investigate and bring to book human rights violators. But details of their findings are still scanty.

Godfrey Ngobi Ssalaamu, the Soroti High Court Deputy Registrar acknowledges receipt of the application and adds that court authorities have already visited the contested land. “We have an application for the enforcement of rights but when we went to the field, the said affected residents were not cooperative”, he said without divulging details.

Bukedea Woman MP Anita Among has since maintained that she is not involved in the Amujaju Land scandal.