Police defuses tension in refugee camp

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On Monday 21/09/2020, the RPC West Nile SSP Okullu Richard led a team of police officers comprising of PRO, FFU Zonal Commander, OC O’dobu police post to O’dobu1 cluster, Rhino camp refugee settlement to meet both the host and the refugee communities to discuss their worries over the deadly clash and the way forward so as to prevent reoccurrence of the same.

It should be noted that O’dobu borders Tika cluster where 10 people were killed and this created a lot of fear, bad rumours and propaganda of a pending attack by both the host and the refugee communities.

The refugees issued a written letter detailing their grievances and worries following the recent clash as well as attainment of justice for having lost their fellows and getting injuries in the clash.

In the same letter, they wanted to know how the Government of Uganda will protect them and prevent such an act from reoccurring in future.

Victoria University

A number of the refugee leaders echoed their voices on the same and requested the number of officers deployed to secure the settlements be increased since they are wide.

Meanwhile, the LC1 chairman of Balala village, O’dobu Parish, Rigbo subcounty, Madi Okollo district one Dratele .K.Swadik who represented the host community together with his LC3 councillor Rigbo sub county expressed sorrow for the deadly clash and promised to work with all the authorities to ensure that the incident of Tika cluster does not happen again in his area.

He said that people spreading these bad rumours of an attack by the host community are just opportunists who want to benefit from their threats.

That in his village, they have been leaving like brothers and sisters and so nothing will happen again.

He said that his elders and the landlords only requested OPM and UNHCR to give them some little reward of constructing for the some simple permanent houses to leave in for having surrendered chunks of their land for refugee settlements.

However, the Regional Police Commander(RPC) West Nile and his team said that police is moving round the refugee clusters to preach and ensure peace.

He said that what happened in Tika one was bad and condemned by the Government of Uganda, and that the clash was not supported by anybody or government organ but by the individuals themselves, yet what sparked it off was a very small issue which should have been solved amicably without involving everybody.

He said that about 28 people were arrested and Detained at Arua CPS as investigations continue as well as increasing the number of the forces at Tika police post to offer protection in the area.

The RPC however says that “what goes around comes around” and so there is need to prevent reoccurrence of this deadly clash in future.

That conflicts are always part of life and what matters most is how they can be resolved.

” When it is resolved badly, then we get the deadly results like in the recent clash,” said
SP Angucia Josephine, PRO(Spokesperson) West Nile/North West Nile Regions.

He then emphasised that conflict should never be generalised but treated individually with individual solutions.

He advised the two communities to report issues affecting them to their leaders or police for proper management other than taking law into their hands.

That people peddling propaganda, hatred, bad rumours should be reported to police for further action.

That elders should stop joining their children in useless fights but bring such matters to their leaders for proper harmonisation.

The RPC emphasised that peace and security of an area largely depends on the quality of the leaders, meaning the leaders of the refugees and the host community.

That some leaders of Tika cluster are in police detention due to cheap popularity.

He urged leaders to cooperate and work as a team, and forward issues which they can not handle to police for further action.

The RPC promised to re-enforce the police post with more officers, as well as organise scientifically arranged community policing sessions at the settlements.

He therefore urged the two communities to abide by the laws of the country and prevent reoccurrence of the clash in future.

All their questions were appropriately answered meanwhile others were forwarded to Office of the Prime Minister(OPM) for further management.

The meeting ended with a joint feast organised by the refugee community of O’dobu1 which was shared by all including the host community.

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