“oil fields in our land”: A Testimony of Acaa Magrate Loum

A small piece of the threatened land

A small piece of the threatened land

“My name is Acaa Magrate Loum.

I’m now 38 years old. Born from Lakang and got married to Loum who is
now 40 years old from Lakang in 1992 when i was only 17 years old.

At that time, we lived in Lakang without any problem of land dispute.
We lived knowing that the land we where in was totaly ours and indeed
it was.

Later we were forced to leave the land and go to Amuru camp by the
civil war between the current government of uganda and Joseph Kony. We
lived in camp for many years and return to our land in 2007 and
settled as we desired to continue with our normal life. We started to
practice farming and were almost kicking malnutritional problems from
our families.

Suddenly the current government of Uganda came in and said we are
living in a piece of land that belong to the government. And that the
government has the plan to give that land to investor company called
Madivhany group of company for growing sugar cane. But the indigenous
people of the place insisted the land belong to them.

From that time up to now over ten thousand people living in the land
are facing alot of intimidation. Some people are arrested without
clear reasons, No any meeting is expected without informing leaders in
the place being claim by the government, people are shot dead by
police and or soldiers in case of resistance shown directly to oppos
the idear of giving the land that belong to the individuals to
investors.

When i personaly asked for why the government is doing this to us, i
was told there is oil fields in our land of Lakang and Kololo that is
why the government want to take the land away from us, so that we the
poor people from the place do not benefit from the wealth in our land
but by the top government officials.

Some pieces of land that belong to some fellow indigenous people of
the place are even now being claim by some people like state minister
for water, Betty Bigombe. She is claiming land belonging to Omony
Francis, Ojara, the late Okumu and Ocii located near Kololo to be
hers. Also the former ambasada is claiming land belonging to Atwom,
Kilama, Lago and Too-kwiny which is located about 5km west of Lakang
trading centre to be his. And many other government officials or their
relatives are coming to claim ownership of land here. And those
officials who claim ownership say they are willing to leave their
claimed land for investment.

I’m now stranded, i do not know what to do. I feel like committing
killing myself if the government insist on violating our right of
owning our own land and take it from us. This is because these’ll be
on any other way through which I and my husband will feed our
children, because both of us did not undergo higher level of education
which can provide for us access to reliables job. Not only that, we do
not have any other piece of land elsewhere for farming.

I therefore request to forward our problem to any
individuals, organisations, companies, states who stand on the rights
of people to help us deliver us from this problem we are facing in
Lakang, Kololo and other parts of Amuru. I’m saying this because we
tried court and the government seemed to have forced the court system
to favor them leaving us helpless in our own land. If the government
can not change their greedy behavior, the i request that the current
government should be forced out of power by international communities.”

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