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Court Gives Attorney General One Month to Verify Teso War Claimants

On Friday Justice Henry Adonyo said that the Attorney General has up to December 22, 2021, to complete the verification of the claimants.
Counsel Omongole addressing claimants after court on Friday.

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The High Court in Soroti has given the Attorney General one month to verify Teso war claimants.

In 2005, Okupa and 2,020 others dragged the Attorney General to court over the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms and the court delivered a ruling against the government in January 2018.

Okupa’s case majored in an incident where the Anti- Stock Theft Unit- ASTU, a government paramilitary group attacked an Internally Displaced Camp in Ngariam, Katakwi District, killing 17 people, injuring hundreds, raping women, torturing men and children and made away with 500 heads of cattle in 2002.

In Okupa’s case, the claimants are seeking payment of more than 126 Billion Shillings, but the court granted orders of mandamus. However, the Attorney General prayed for the order to be stayed to allow the government to complete the verification exercise. 

On Friday Justice Henry Adonyo said that the Attorney General has up to December 22, 2021, to complete the verification of the claimants. 

He said that the lawyers representing claimants have up to November 15, 2021, to serve the Office of the Attorney General with complete lists of claimants to enable verification exercise.

It is the third time court has issued orders on verification of claimants. The last order was issued last month when the court asked Omongole & Co. Advocates to serve the Attorney General with the list of claimants.

Richard Omongole, the lawyer says that Imodot’s case now has 274 claimants from 105 initially registered while former Kapelebyong County MP, Julius Ocen is yet to harmonize the list of 205,000 claimants with the Attorney General. 

“We have claimants verified already verified by the Ministry of Defense and others with the Attorney General. We hope that the time given will be adequate for government to start compensating the people of Teso”, he said while addressing hundreds of claimants who had gathered in court on Friday morning.

Emmanuel Opolot, a claimant from Asuret in Soroti district says his strength is waning down as government continues to prolong issues of compensation of Teso Claimants. The 87- year- old says the exercise is tiresome, costly and time consuming yet the compensation may not consider such struggles. 

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Mary Abuko, another claimant from Opuyo in Soroti says that whereas the loss of her animals cost the lives of her family including children, she hopes to get the money to enable her descent send-off. The 80- year- old widow says she suffers from many illnesses yet the struggle for compensation continues to cost every little money she has. 

Ateso byte

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The government had initially indicated that they were verifying a list of 33,664 claimants. But it has emerged that that said list doesn’t contain any of the claimants that won the case in court. The list belongs to Teso Animal and Property Claimants Organization- TAPCO.