Maruzi Ranch: Soldiers accused of torturing squatters, one arrested

According to a source who spoke to this contemporary online newspaper on Saturday, soldiers belonging to UPDF, and more than 20 in numbers beat up locals, many left with bruised bodies.

Ketty Angom, who says she’s a widow with eight children and eleven grandchildren, also tells TND News that they have been denied accessing water sources by the armed soldiers.

“They arrested two men; Ocen James whom they asked to frog-jump for nearly 50 meters and Ojok Patrick,” she said.

According to her, Ocen took off after gaining confidence, leaving the armed men in “shocks”.

Soon, Ocen was rearrested and taken to Acholi In barrack, area locals since 1981 says.

Maxwell Akora, the Maruzi County MP when contacted said:

“……there are too many lies being generated about the goings on in the ranch. I do not have reliable contact on the ground to verify since there are no local leaders there. I personally have been inside the ranch where these people are because of the hostile atmosphere. But if that is true, then the army or DISO should explain. The army was deployed in any places around the ranch many years back due to insecurity. The local people requested their presence. I expect that they will be based thère for some time in the future. However, they should not harass or mistreat people who are lawfully going about the usual business.”

Attempts to reach Apac district RDC and UPDF spokesperson were all futile by press time (17:08pm) on Saturday.

Maruzi Ranch, about 64 square miles has been leased in what other activists say “fraudulently” to Hillside Agriculture Company Ltd for Palm Tree production, contrary to what it was gazetted for, “beef production and ranching”.

It has been leased cheaply at Uganda shillings 9.3 millions – for 50 years.

There are over 1,244 households and a population of about 3,350 people surviving and settling in the ranch land.

More details to follow

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