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Church Building Demolished Over Dispute In Agago

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Rev. Canon Charles Okidi, the Head Patongo Church of Uganda in Patongo Town Council told Uganda Radio Network that the demolition was a planned move that should be investigated by security personnel.
Parts of the Church Building that was demolished by unknown people on Thursday last week.

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Unidentified people have demolished St. Paul Olyelo Widyel Church building in Olyelo Widyel Central Village in Kotomor Sub-county in Agago District. The attackers raided the building that was still under construction on Thursday last week fuelling tension between protestants and catholic believers.    

The incident comes at the backdrop of a long-standing dispute over the ownership of Olyelo Widyel Primary School pitying Church of Uganda against the Catholic church in Patongo Town Council. The demolished structure was being erected on the disputed 13-acre piece of land, approximately 30 meters away from St. Mary Olyelo Widyel Catholic church.

Rev. Canon Charles Okidi, the Head Patongo Church of Uganda in Patongo Town Council told Uganda Radio Network that the demolition was a planned move that should be investigated by security personnel.

 

Rev. Okidi says those responsible should be traced and brought to book to ensure they pay for the damage caused. He also called on Anglicans in the area to restrain themselves from any acts of revenge that may escalate the matters at hand.

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Agago Resident District Commissioner, Andrew Onyuk who visited the scene over the weekend, warned leaders in both churches to desist from fueling  fights over the primary school.

He also advised the religious leaders to solve the matter in court rather than engaging in disputes that pit believers against each other and threaten the future of the school under contention.

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Fr. Cyprian Ocen Pa’kech, the Patongo Catholic Parish Priest however says the school under contention was founded by the catholic church and notes that the dispute has on two occasions been dismissed by courts in Kitgum and Pader.

 

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Court documents seen by Uganda Radio Network indicate that David Acili dragged ten religious leaders at Patongo Catholic Parish to the Kitgum Magisterial area court in Patongo on grounds that the contested land and school were rightful properties of the protestant church.

He adduced evidence in the court that the land in question was a gift from Lucepo Odany and that the defendants had no right whatsoever on the suit property whether customary or another way of ownership or acquisition.

However, the magistrate’s court dismissed the matter with costs in favour of the catholic church last year under civil suit number PAD -01-cs-0020 of 2020 after the petitioner snubbed the court sessions.  

Fr. Ocen says despite the catholic church winning the court cases, a call for mediation that has been ignored by their counterparts, the Anglican church leaders have severally claimed ownership of the school and recently made attempts to construct their church. 

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The Police have since deployed in the area to quell any possible revenge attacks on the Catholic Church and Christians.

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