Florence Oryem and Michael Ouna were arrested on Wednesday and later on the day produced before Gulu Grade Magistrates Court on charges of malicious damage.
Prosecution alleges that the two on 30th of May this year mobilised hundreds of residents who demolished two grass thatched huts and several household properties belonging to Florence Adong, a witchdoctor operating in the area.
Hundreds of angry residents of Forest Ward in
Queen`s Parish Laroo Division Gulu Municipality have stormed the Resident
District Commissioner’s office demanding the release of their local chairperson
and her vice.
Florence Oryem and Michael Ouna were arrested on Wednesday and
arraigned before the Gulu Chief Magistrate’s court for malicious damage.
Prosecution alleges that on May 30th,
2019, the two mobilised hundreds of residents to demolish two grass thatched
huts and household properties belonging to Florence Adong, a witchdoctor
operating in the area.
The Gulu Chief Magistrate, Dawa
Matenga remanded the two leaders to Gulu Central Prisons until November 5th,
2019 when they will return for the hearing of the case against them. The
prosecution of the two local leaders hasn’t gone down well with residents, who
claim the leaders didn’t participate in the mob action.
Residents argue that they stormed Adong’s house
following their resolution to evict her for her unbecoming behaviors. Led
by the Queen`s Parish Councilor, Peter Okwera Onen, the residents held a procession
from Forest Ward through Gulu Town to the RDC` office this morning to express
Okwera says the arrest and subsequent prosecution
of their leaders was uncalled for since Adong`s action had caused tension among
the residents when she locked a four year old girl in her shrine on March 20th,
2019 during her initiation leading to her death three days later.
in: ‘’the malicious damage…
out: …we are scared.’’//
Kevin Atim, a women leader, says the two LC leaders couldn’t do
anything at a time of the mob incident because they were overpowered by the
Stella Amony, another resident demanded that the local
leaders be released immediately because they were defending their people who
were living in fear and unrest.
Nelson Komakech told URN that they are unhappy with the
arrest and want the RDC to take action so that the two leaders are released and
the matter settled outside court.
Simon Wokorach received the resident’s petition as directed
by the RDC, Santos Okot Lapolo who was out of office. Wokorach promised to
immediately handover the petition to the RDC when he steps in office for
Moses Abonga, the Laroo Division LC III Chairperson called
for calm among residents arguing that the matter is equally being handled by
his office, adding that he was organizing for a mediation meeting between the
Residents say three separate meetings have found the accused
witchdoctor guilty of several crimes including trying to bewitch a neighbor.
She reportedly pleaded guilty before the residents last year and paid a fine of
Shillings 200,000 on May 18th, 2019.
She reportedly committed in writing to vacate
the area within two weeks. On May 24th, a meeting between
forest sub ward leaders and the accused chaired by Rwot Collins Opoka, the
mediation committee chairperson pinned Adong, saying she isn’t a genuine
witchdoctor duly initiated by the gods.
Emmy Daniel Ojara is a young journalist and has been practicing since 2013, during which he covered land rights violation in the contested Apaa and Lakang in Amuru as his first take ups while at Gulu Fm, Favor Fm and later Paidha Fm and Speak Fm where he is still attached.
Human rights abuses and denied access to land by security and government agencies has been the major aftermath of the contest over the lands. The underprivileged such as women, children and the elderly faced challenges in accessing soc