15 houses have been burned down in Kasomenga village in Arua district in a tribal clash between Alur and Madi families living in the area.
Trouble between the two communities started early this year when the LC1 chairperson of Kasomenga, Emmanuel Omonya, claimed that the 50 acres of land on which Alur families live belonged to his grandfather, a Madi. He said the Alur families should leave his inherited land.
However the Alur families said they had been given the land by Omonya's grandfather even before the LC1 chairperson was born.
Last night, a group of Madi youth, allegedly mobilized by Emmanuel Omonya, attacked the Alur homes and burned 15 houses. They drove the families away with spears and pangas.
Othman Aduvuku, the LC3 chairperson of Rhino Camp sub-county where Kasomenga village is located, says household property and crops were destroyed in the attack. Several animals were killed.
Aduvuku explains that the disagreement over land is just one of the contentious issues between the Alur and the Madi. He says the Madi families also accuse their Alur neighbors, with whom they have lived in peace for years, of witchcraft.
The families who were chased from Kasomenga are camped at the sub-county headquarters. The police moved in to arrest the LC1 chairperson and his gang, but they had fled their homes and are on the run.
Atrilio Droma, the Rhino Camp LC5 councilor, condemns the violence. He says the district will work with the police to ensure the prosecution of all those involved.
The displaced families have been given food and basic shelter supplies from the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Relief office at Rhino Camp.