Residents have vandalized Buffalo Camp, a local tourism site around Amuru hotspring in Amuru district belonging to the former Aruu South legislator Samuel Odonga Otto. Close to 150 residents stormed Buffalo Camp that is found in Amuru town council on Tuesday this week and uprooted 500 concrete pillars used to erect the fence, pulled down the chain link and vandalized a generator and several solar panel stands and injured a causal labourer.
It came almost a month after Rwot Justine Ocitti Binyi, the Chief of Pagak Clan raised complaints about the illegal activities perpetrated by Otto on the land hosting the hot spring, saying it diminishes the core value of the cultural heritage site. In his statement at Amuru Central Police Station recorded vide GEF 10/2021; the cultural leader accused the legislator of interfering with the site, which he obtained illegally.
However, Otto counter accuses the Pagak clan leader of sabotage explaining that he acquired the 10-acre piece of land in 2020 and duly compensated the land owners before commencing construction work at the site. Otto further accuses Rwot Binyi of inciting violence and masterminding the destruction on his property.
He further blames the RDC and District Police Commander for not responding in time to restrain the attackers. But Geoffrey Oceng Osborn, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner said early in July that he convened two different mediation meetings between the aggrieved Pagak clan leaders, their subjects and Otto to try and reach a consensus.
He says that the meeting recommended that the physical planner inspects the contested land. The meeting also recommended that the land be surveyed and an environmental impact assessment be conducted so that the District Executive Committee discusses it.
He however says that he was shocked to hear the Pagak clan leaders convened a separate meeting and Otto also hired workers to clear the bank of the hot spring without resolving the question of acquisition, control and management leading to the deadly fracas.
David Ongom Mudong, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson revealed that a case of criminal trespass, robbery and malicious damage to property was reported by Dickson Olweny, one of the workers at the site vide Amuru CRB: 385/2021.
As of Wednesday, only one suspect whose name has been concealed had been arrested to aid police investigations. Amuru hot springs is expected to become a vibrant tourist site and a treasured source of local revenue to the district. Traditionalists believe that hot spring water is cure for chronic wounds.