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Land Owners Pressure IDPs to Return Home

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People who are still living in camps in Kitgum are under pressure from land owners to vacate the camps.
The people most threatened by the eviction are from Padibe East sub-county. There are about # people still living in internally displaced persons' camps in Padibe East.
Jikiria Ludaga, a resident of Atwol village in Padibe, says hundreds of people settled on his 12 acres of land at the height of the insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army. He says that although most of them have returned home, a number of displaced families are still living on his land.
Ludaga wants the families to leave as soon as possible. He argues that he, like other people in Kitgum, needs to rebuild his life by putting his land to productive use.
Jikiria Ludaga has given the displaced families until December this year to find new homes. He says anyone who remains on his land will be charged rent for use of the property.
Uganda's national policy on displaced persons protects people against forced repatriation from camps.
This policy has little bearing on Korina Latoo, a land owner in Polaa West in Padibe. She says she has no property, but that on which several displaced people are living. Latoo hopes that all the displaced families will return home by next year so she can farm on her four acres of land.
Simon Okot Ramtoo, one of the people still living in Padibe East camp, says the movement back home has been slow because people are not motivated to return to their villages. He says that if people were guaranteed food back home, they would have no problem leaving immediately.
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In August several local council officials in Kitgum proposed that the voluntary return policy for displaced persons should be scrapped. They said many people were abusing the policy to remain on property that was not their own.

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