Four months after the crash, Gulu farmers await compensation.

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In short
A group of farmers whose crops were destroyed by an aircraft belonging to the army last year, are still waiting for compensation that had been promised by the authorities.

A group of farmers whose crops were destroyed by an aircraft belonging to the army last year, are still waiting for compensation that had been promised by the authorities.
 
The gardens of the farmers in Patek village, Gulu district, were destroyed in September, 2014, when the aircraft that was being used for training crashed into the gardens, destroying crops and damaging a pit latrine in one of the homesteads.
 
One of the two affected farmers, Patrick Omara says that the army had promised to compensate then by December 2014, but nothing has been paid.
 
Patrick Omara, a resident of Patek village in Bobi Sub County, Gulu district, says he has started constructing his pit latrine and also hiring land for farming as he awaits compensation from the army.

Omara's garden was damaged by Uganda Peoples Defence Forces soldiers deployed to retrieve the aircraft. He lost 25 square meters of his garden, where he had planted Simsim, Banana, Pigeon Peas, Oranges and Sweet potatoes that were due for harvest.
 
Omara and another farmer petitioned the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces, demanding for compensation amounting to UGX23 million. He has however since revised the figure to UGX5 million after negations with the Force.
 
Charles Odab, another farmer whose 20 square meter garden was destroyed also rejected UGX1 million that was given to him in compensation, saying he wants UGX 7 million. He claims that his crops could have yielded a similar amount.


The farmers and UPDF have however failed to agree on the compensation rate. The UPDF is offering Omara UGX2.5million. The last negotiations in November 2014 yielded no results.
 
Currently, Omara and members of his family ease themselves in the nearby bush because of the lack of a pit latrine. About 10 people were using the pit latrine.
 
The residents say they should not only be compensated for what they lost but the time they have spent not cultivating.

Captain Tabaro Kiconco, the UPDF Gulu Air force spokesperson says the compensation claims had been assessed and negotiations with the farmers would resume, though he did not say when.
 

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.