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Church Accused of Encroaching on Clan Land

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The clan leaders accuse New Jerusalem Tabernacle Church, which belongs to Severino Lukoya, the father of Alice Lakwena, the former head of the Holy Spirit Movement of erecting his church on one and half acre of the clan land.
Severino Lukoya Leading Prayers during the Cruusade in Kitgum on Saturday
Paban clan members in Gulu district are accusing the New Jerusalem Tabernacle Church of illegally occupying part of their 120 acre piece of land.  The contested land is found in Paban in Kot-Omolo Sub Ward Acut Omer Parish in Paibona Sub County Gulu district.   

The clan leaders accuse New Jerusalem Tabernacle Church, which belongs to Severino Lukoya, the father of Alice Lakwena, the former head of the Holy Spirit Movement of erecting his church on one and half acre of the clan land.

Justine Oloya, the Paban clan told URN in an interview that Lukoya connived with a section of the clan members to construct his church on clan land without authorisation. He says that Lukoya approached the clan leaders last year seeking permission to own the land but his request was rejected.

  He however, says despite the rejection of Lukoya’s request he went ahead with construction on the clan land early this year. Denis Oola, another clan member says they are seeking assistance from Paibona Sub County leadership to evict the church from their land.     

Lukoya has denied allegations of encroaching on clan land, saying the land was offered to him by the family of John Lam, a member of the clan. Lam says the contested land belongs to him, adding that he offered it to Lukoya because he is a member of his congregation.  

Richard Watmon, the Paibiona Sub County Interim LC III chairperson confirmed the land dispute, saying his office is already handling the matter. He however, says Lukoya didn’t seek permission from the Sub County authority while entering the area.  Watmon advises that Lukoya to acquire the land using lawful means or risk facing the wrath of the community.  

Residents of Acut Omer Parish have repeatedly asked Lokoya to vacate their area arguing that his church practices are a nuisance and a reminder of the bad past. In May, residents burnt Lokoya’s worship material. They also tried to eject him from the area in September this year.