Zombo attack victims cry for relief aid, 150 homeless

Residents of Labora Village in Otheko Parish, Paidha Sub-county in Zombo District during a meeting with security officials. (Image: George Buatre/Kazi-njema News)

More than 150 residents of Labora Village in Otheko Parish, Paidha Sub-county in Zombo District are crying for relief aid after their houses were torched down by the neighbouring village members.

These were attacked by enraged community members of Avonu from Amei parish in Paidha sub-county in retaliation for the killing of their two young men suspected to be thieves last week.

Jacob Odongo, 23 and his colleague only identified as Charles, 18, had gone fishing on River Zingili when they were killed on allegations of theft.

Now, the victims of that retaliatory attack have pitched camp at Pubidhi primary school in Nebbi municipality.

Aside from setting the houses ablaze, a lot of property including livestock and food crops were pillaged.

Ms Mary Okecha, 52, says five of her goats were looted and much property destroyed when her house was burnt.

“It was a struggle to save children from being killed in the attack. We lost it all and now I have no way to return children to school. We need shelter, food and beddings among other things,” she says.

Mr Ronald Jagen, 39, appreciated the security forces in Zombo and Nebbi districts for restoring order but said the key challenge remains humanitarian support.

“I don’t have anything to eat or dress. All our clothes and everything were burnt in the houses. The government tried their part to protect us but how are we going to take back these kids to school?” says puzzled Mr Jagen.

Mr Patrick Anyolitho, 62, asks the government to put measures to ensure the community is compensated for their losses because the disaster hit them hard.

During the recent visit by Zombo district authorities to the bereaved Avonu community members in Amei parish, the Paidha Sub-county Local Government Chairman, Mr William Okethi said he had forwarded the matter to the office of the State Minister for Northern Uganda.

The Zombo District Police Commander, ASP Nelson Nahabwe, has warned communities against mob justice.

The Zombo Resident District Commissioner, Rtd Lt Col Pius Alitema and his counterpart from Nebbi district, Mr Robert Abak, have assured Avonu community of safety and security.

The security officials vowed that the law will absolutely take its course against all the suspects in both the first and the retaliatory mob justice cases.

According to an assessment report on the incident by Community Empowerment for Rural Development CEFORD –Ug – a Zombo-based Non-Governmental Organisation, about 196 people including children were left homeless after 76 houses were set alight by the apoplectic Avonu community.


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