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IGP orders eviction of district as land row escalates

Inspector General of Police, John Martins Okoth Ochola has sanctioned the eviction of the Lira Local Government from the contested land around Erute prison, Ireda and Ojwina.(FILE PHOTO)

LIRA – The land wrangle between Lira District and Uganda Police Force has taken a new twist after the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Martins Okoth-Ochola, directed North Kyoga Regional Police to evict the local government from the contested land.

Lira District and Police both claim ownership of plots of land around Erute prison, Ireda and Ojwina. The houses at Ireda Housing Estate are currently occupied by Lira District civil servants while others have been rented out by the district.

But in a letter dated February 28, 2019, Mr. Ochola directs the North Kyoga Regional Police Commander to evict the occupants of the land so that it can be surveyed.

“The purpose of this communication is to reecho the guidance that the same should be surveyed and specifically in the interim require that you make arrangements to roof the existing police structure on the land to enable police to occupy the same and protect it from the unsuspecting public from taking it,” the letter reads in part.

“By copy of this letter, the RPC is required to immediately takeover and occupy the said land by deploying police officers to avoid any alienation of the same by Lira District Local Government,” it adds.

The North Kyoga Regional police spokesperson, Mr David Ongom Mudong, said they will ensure directives from the IGP is implemented.

“We have received the letter directing us to take over and occupy the said land. We shall take action as directed by the IGP,” he said.

Part of the disputed land in Erute is also being used as police headquarters and offices for the Professional Standards Unit of the police and the force’s Land Complaints Desk. It was previously occupied by Local Administration Police (LAP) before such operations were transferred to the central government under Uganda Police Force.

The integration of Local Administration police into the Uganda police force as per the Police (Amendment) Act, 2006 S67A, 67B and 67C required that the properties belonging to and used by Local Administration Police be transferred to the Uganda Police Force.

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