The Ministry of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs has clarified amid Salaji land demolition row as Sukuta youth clashed with police.

Officials of the Department of Physical Planning demolished dozens of homes in Salaji they claimed to be built on state reserved land.

But people of Sukuta however dispelled the department’s claim saying they are the owners of the land. Dozens of youth were arrested and released on police bail last week.

The Ministry of Lands on Tuesday convened a press conference to clarify the demolition as it said “a letter was issued to the Alkalo of Sukuta on 2nd August 2007 from the Local Government and Lands.”

 “I am directed to inform you that this department has been instructed by the department of Local Government and Land to prepare a residential layout at Sukuta,” the ministry quoted the said letter issued to the community head.

According to the ministry, a compensation was given to seven clans [‘Kabilos’] including some individual who claimed that their lands where found within the Salaji extension.

Speaking at the news conference permanent secretary Buba Sayang said: “the reason for the demolition of Salaji Layout in accordance with Section 24 of the Physical Planning & Development Control Act 1991, which states that: ‘person shall not carry out any development on any land subject to the provisions of this Act, unless that person has been issued with a development permit in respect of the land by the Planning Authority of the area in which the land is situated’”.

He also cited that “section 38 of the Physical Planning & Development Control Act 1991, states that, “a person who contravenes or fails to comply with the provisions of this as Commits an offence and is in addition to having the development removed, liable to a fine not exceeding two thousand Dalasis or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding on year or to both the fine and imprisonment.”

Mr Sanyang added: “in effect the demolition that was conducted was carried out targeting the public spaces that were created within the layout to benefit the beneficiaries he explained.

 “We cannot allow such to continue where Government create a layout or public space and people take the law in to their own hands and occupy those public places for their personal interests.”

Reporting by Adama Makasuba 

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