AUGUST 9, 2010: Landowners Want Help on IDP Graves

Landowners Want Help on IDP Graves

SOURCE: New Vision

By Chris Ocowun

Kampala — Landowners who hosted the internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Acholi have appealed to the Government and development partners to provide goats to perform traditional rituals so that former IDPs can exhume the remains of their dead relatives which were buried in their land in the camps.

Most landowners expressed fear that ghosts of the dead will haunt their families if the rituals are not performed. They said the graves should be relocated to enable them develop their land. With the developments in former camps, other people said most of the remains will be uncovered since tractors are being used to level the land.

John Olal of Ajulu former IDP camp in Gulu district said on Monday that due to poverty, most people were returning to their villages without exhuming the remains of their relatives. He estimated that there are more than 200 graves in his land at Ajulu camp, saying the relatives of the dead people could not afford the goats for the cleansing rituals. A goat costs about sh80,000.

Wilson Okello of Tela-dwong village in Patiko sub-county complained that he left behind eight graves of his children and relatives who died during the Lord's Resistance Army war. "I have forgotten about these bodies now because I cannot afford to buy eight goats to perform rituals to exhume the bodies. The Government and NGOs should support us with goats and hens to carry out traditional rituals," Okello appealed.

The paramount chief of Acholi, Rwot David Onen Acana II, said the requirements to perform the rituals should be provided by the relatives of the dead people. He noted that there are more than 10 graves in the Lacekocot royal land.

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