GULU –The Omolo clan in Omoro district has tabled a Ugx200m demand as blood compensation, following the killing of their two sons by the O/C – Opit Police Station, last month.
Robert Olanya, the Omolo clan head who is an uncle to the deceased, Emmanuel Olanya said they want a compensation of Ugx100m for each victim from the Uganda Police Force for cutting short the lives of their energetic youngsters.
The family is also demanding the police to provide Ugx65m to cater for the burial arrangements of the two cousins, whom Sgt Christopher Okot Bruce shot in the wee hours of Boxing Day from Corner House Night Club in Opit Town Council, Omoro district.
Emmanuel Olanya, 16 – a pupil of Opit Primary School, and his cousin, Simon Okema, 26, were all residents of Omolo village, were killed in the gruesome incident.
Olanya died on the spot while Okema succumbed to gun wounds at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital a day later.
According to police, the suspect had intervened to disperse a crowd that was reportedly fighting over a girl. However, he faced resistance from the crowd prompting him to open fire. He has since been arrested.
Olanya said that burial arrangements were suspended, pending communication from the police who were on Friday notified of their demands through Damalie Nachuha – the Aswa River Regional Police Commander, and Andrew Onyuk – the Omoro Resident District Commissioner.
The family has budgeted Ugx33m for each of the victims’ burial. Tentatively the burial had been set for January 3, 2023 but it was likely to change.
Onyuk – the Omoro RDC confirmed receiving the demands, noting that they had engaged the police authorities about the same.
Nachuha – the Aswa River RPC said they would first ensure a decent burial for the victims and have other matters discussed later. Blood compensation, known as ‘culu kwor’ among the Acholi kinsmen is meant to reconcile (mato oput) the perpetrator and the victims or their families.
The process involves the relatives of the offender apologising to the family of the victim after their intentions and the nature of the offences have been established.
Kwor Tobong is conducted when the crime committed was intentional; it is paid with five heads of cattle and above.
Another one is called ‘Kwor Lek,’ is done when someone is led into death through actions or words, which were unintended. Its compensation is fair with not more than two cattle.
‘Kwor Leb’ is done when someone uses their tongue or words to cause distress to someone leading to their death. This is also considered fair and paid considerably. It is also used in war instances in which when a war leader led his men successfully and killed the enemy, the same processes would be undertaken.
Blood compensation is also done when clansmen say that the person has blood on his/her hands though it was to protect the people.
He is therefore cleansed of any blood and bad omen and would be tasked to step on an egg before entering the homestead.
The most recent public blood compensation ceremony in Acholi was witnessed between the family of the late Brig Pierrino Okoya Yere and Pageya Clan and his assailants of the Lamogi sub-clan of Pujwani.
Brig Okoya made a Ugx14m payment, meant for mending relationships between the two sides after the former confessed to gruesomely murdering Okoya and his wife Anna Akello in 1970.
Rwot Yusuf Okwonga Adek, the Clan Chief of Pageya who believes that blood compensation surpasses the judicial system, added that the practice helps in mending relationships, and heal wounds of the afflicted parties.
Additional reporting by URN