Today, a man accused of violently stealing the land, livestock and livelihood from a poor Ugandan widow sits behind bars. Exactly one month after opening its doors, IJM Gulu worked with local police to secure their first arrest together in a violent property grabbing case.
After her husband died in 2010, the widow’s brother-in-law took everything she and her husband had owned—her farm land, cows, goats, chickens, furniture and the small shop where her family gained their income. With four young children to support, the widow tried to keep farming for food, but her brother-in-law beat her and threatened to kill her with an axe.
Terrified, she reported the abuse to family and local officials. But her brother-in-law defied authorities when they tried to intervene. “Every time the [local leaders] or police summoned him, he refused to turn up—saying the things belonged to him,” says Eva Kadi, IJM Gulu’s director of operations.
When IJM came to her village, the widow reported her case once more. IJM attorneys worked quickly to investigate the abuse and team up with police on the case.
Today, IJM investigators and local police moved in to arrest the man and stop the violence. He resisted, but now waits behind bars. IJM Gulu attorneys will work with authorities to officially charge the man in the next few days, and then seek justice for the widow in local courts.