23rd September 2023
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Gunshots heard near disputed land adjacent to parliament

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Nakasongola Church before the area was fenced off/Gettyimage

Gunshots have been heard at the scene of the Nakasongola Church which is contested by the national parliament administration and the heirs to the church.

A journalist near the scene said the heavy gunfire started when a group of civilians protested the church demolition.

The police spokesperson Major General Daniel Justin was not available for comment by the time this story was published.

The heirs to late Pastor Jambo Mula, who reportedly founded the historic church in 1988, said last week, they were told by a group of security forces to vacate the land or face forceful eviction by Monday, July 3.

Pastor David Jambo, son of the founder of the church said the men in security uniform said they were sent by the state government and a national parliament official.

In an interview with Eye Radio, Pastor David lamented that they are awaiting eviction on Monday, June 2023.

This is the second time the government has attempted to force out the inheritors of the church land at the backyard of the parliament.

In May 2022, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs served the Nakasongola Church residents with an eviction letter asking them to vacate the place.

This prompted five religious leaders to sue the national government at the East African Court of Justice for having allegedly attempted to confiscate church land.

The Church defense lawyer Wani Santino Jada said Nakasongola Church has been the rightful owner of the land behind the national parliament for more than 40 years.

Attorney Jada said his client has sued the government of Central Equatoria state and the national government for “interfering” with freedom of religion and the right to own property.

The regional court then demanded that the national Justice Minister file a defense against the lawsuit, in a notification addressed to the Attorney General of the Republic of South Sudan, on July 20, 2022.

But when contacted for comment on July 1, 2023, the Spokesperson of the National Parliament said the East African Court of Justice has ruled in favor of the parliament.

Agany challenges the church leader to provide any document showing the ownership of the land.

In response, the M/S  Pan African Law Firm that filed the case against the government disagreed the there was no verdict returning the land to the parliament.

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