By Mike Rwothomio
72 grass-thatched houses were set ablaze and many property got destroyed and looted by an angry mob in Labora village Otheko parish Paidha sub county Zombo district in retaliation following the lynching of two theft suspects. #WhisperEyeNews
The two murdered youth were both deaf and were identified as Jacob Odongo aged 23, and one Only identified as Charles who are residents of Amay and Chana Parish respectively in Paidha Sub county.
The body of the two were discovered lying next to river Zingili in Labora village on the morning of the 25th by some farmers going to the gardens.
The deceased both of whom went fishing in River Zingili were killed and their throats were slit by an angry Mob of Labora village who accused them of stealing a goat around midnight according to some local leaders.
When a report about their demise broke out yesterday, hundreds of residents from where the duo hails in Amay Parish Paidha Sub_ county most of whom were youth armed with all sorts of rudimentary tools attacked the whole village of Labora in Otheko parish and also torched down 72 houses and looted many properties.
For starters, police officers from Nebbi central police station responded first and were engaged in a fierce battle with the angry residents from the bereaved community of Avonu who were retaliating against the death of their loved ones.
The highly charged mob armed with rudimentary tools like pangas, machetes, bows, and arrows were calmed down by officers from Paidha central police station from Zombo district who begged them to lay down their fighting tools so that the situation is handled lawfully which saw them bowing down.
The LC 1 chairperson of Labora village Eric Melki Owonda revealed that 72 houses (grass-thatched and permanent houses) were set ablaze and many people including children escaped by the mercy of God since they were attacked abruptly.
He appealed to the government for help saying over 100 people are without shelter and have no food to eat since all their property was either burnt down or looted.
“These people attacked us abruptly and burned down 72 houses yet for me I don’t know whether some people were killed. We escaped through thick and thin and we don’t know where our children are. We are in crisis now and we appeal for support from government and wel_wishers since all our properties got burnt and were looted ” The tearful Owonda told the Whisper Eye News.
Patrick Anyolitho 62, a resident of Labora village said he lost everything including six iron sheets he recently brought.
Mary Okecha 57, who lost five of her goats including many properties that got destroyed in the burnt house has noted that her son was critically injured by the attackers.
The LC 3 chairperson of Paidha sub county William Okethi who condeled with affected persons from both parties has called for calm.
He also assured the affected persons that the Sub-county will find a way of assisting them.
“When I heard about the murder of two, I rushed to the police to report, I got another report that the aggrieved community had attacked this village burning many houses and destroying many properties. Both sides were unlawful. But for the affected persons, we shall try our best to help them where we can afford” Okethi told the homeless community of Labora village whose houses were razed down completely.
The deputy CID Paidha central police station inspector of police Julius Masendi has condemned the mob actions of both parties before assuring the locals of a serious investigation into the matter.
Masendi also cautioned locals against battling armed officers using rudimentary tools saying it’s too risky.
“I want to say that those who killed these two sparked everything here, imagine if they reported them to us, these houses would have been safe and I also want to warn you against shooting armed officers with your bows and arrows, it’s dangerous”, Masendi said.
So far six suspects from the attacking Avonu community were arrested out of which two were women.
Recently suspected thieves were also lynched by an angry mob in Chana Parish and Pagisi all in the Paidha sub-county and many stakeholders are calling for extensive community policing on mob action cases that are simmering not only in Paidha Sub-county but in every nook and cranny of Zombo district.