Escalating Land Disputes in the North (Feb 19 2011)

Amuru — Disputes over land in northern Uganda have escalated, affecting the resettlement plans of former internally displaced people, say locals.

"As people return to their villages, they are confronted with the realization that over a period of 20 years, clan leaders, heads of households and the elderly who would have knowledge of the previous set-up in the villages are no more," Peter Odok, district chairman for Pader, said.

Land in Acholi is communally owned and elders were influential in settling any disputes. Such disputes have affected 1.7 million IDPs - about 80 percent of northern Uganda's population - forced into squalid camps or "protected villages" in the official jargon by conflict between government forces and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). These rebels are now based in the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. for details visit