Bishop Ochola Calls for Resettlement of Mucwini Victims


In short
The affected Pajong families were blocked by Pubec clan members from accessing their ancestral land to avenge the brutal murder of 56 of their clansmen by LRA fighters in July 2004.

Retired Bishop of Kitgum Diocese, McLeod Baker Ochola II wants government to give special consideration to Internally Displaced Persons still in camps in Mucwini Sub County. Bishop Ochola's call comes at a time when the Pre-trial chambers of the International Criminal Court is holding the confirmation of charges hearing for Dominic Ongwen, a former top commander of the Lord's Resistance Army rebels.
LRA was responsible for killing and displacing thousands of people in Northern Uganda during its 20 year war. Although many war victims have since returned to their homes, several others are still in camps. There are close to 140 families from Pajong clan, which are still stuck in Mucwini IDP Camp.  Bishop Ochola says the families should be helped to rebuild their lives.

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The affected Pajong families were blocked by Pubec clan members from accessing their ancestral land to avenge the brutal murder of 56 of their clansmen by LRA fighters in July 2004. The Pubec clan members argue that the killings were provoked by Otim Katende, a member of Pajong Clan who escaped with a gun belonging to the rebels.
Bishop Ochola says while both clans agreed to undergo reconciliation under the Acholi traditional justice system, the Pubec clan insists on the compensation for the killing of their 56 members before they can reconcile.

Geoffrey Oguti, the Mucwini LCV Councilor says those still in camps have to among other things rent burial grounds for their loved ones since they can't access their ancestral land. Bishop Ochola says compelling the displaced persons to rent burial grounds for their loved ones is a very serious issue.

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During his recent campaigns in Kitgum, president Yoweri Museveni promised to direct the solicitor general to probe into the July 2004 Mucwini massacre that led to the displacement of the Pajong clan members.
Bishop Ochola says although the President's promise rekindled the hope of the displaced persons; state house has been too silent on their requests to pay compensation for the lost lives and resettled the displaced residents.


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.