UGANDA: GOVERNMENT TO INVESTIGATE APAA LAND DISPUTE AFTER BLOODSHED

Below: Amuru district leaders at Juka village burnt my civilians from Adjumani inspects one of the huts burnt.

apaaThe land in question, which had hitherto been part of Pabbo sub-county, Amuru district, was forcefully and secretly demarcated and then handed over by government to Adjumani district in 2015

“When the independent team of investigators comes next week, we shall avail them with a copy of the original 1962 map which separates what was then Acholi district and West Nile district. We have the original map which shows that Apaa village was in Acholi district”

APAA-AMURU:  The Prime Minister of Uganda, Mr. Ruhakana Rugunda, has finally instituted an independent committee to investigate the boundary dispute between Amuru district in Acholi sub-region and Adjumani district in West Nile sub-region which has already claimed a number of lives since 2015.

This follows the March 18, 2017 incident where locals from Adjumani district came and attacked their neighbors in Juka village, Apaa parish killing a one Joseph Onek and burnt 104 grass-thatched huts. Over fifty families where left homeless without as a result.

On September 13, 2016, Kilak   North Member of Parliament (MP), Mr. Anthony Akol, wrote to Mr Rugunda seeking the Premier to address the dispute on the 40 square kilometers land which is claimed by both communities in Amuru-Adjumani districts

The land in question, which had hitherto been part of Pabbo sub-county, Amuru district, was forcefully and secretly demarcated and handed over by government to Adjumani district in 2015. Some women from Apaa in Acholi sub-region, stripped naked before two cabinet ministers in protest during the demarcation exercise.

The chairman of Amuru district, Mr. Michael Lakony, confirmed the new development during an interview on Thursday, March 30, 2017, saying that government used a ‘fake and doctored map’ which is being paddled by the Adjumani Member of Parliament, Mr. Moses Ali, instead of the original colonial map.

“When the independent team of investigators comes next week, we shall avail them with a copy of the original 1962 map which separates what was then Acholi district and West Nile district. We have the original map which shows that Apaa Parish was in Acholi district”, says Mr. Lakony.

When the two leaders visited the affected community on Monday March 20, 2017, they were able to establish the identity of a one Ms. Mystica in Adjumani from Arua who is alleged to have imported about fifty armed laborers from Arua to Juka village so as tor her purported farmland where the locals are settled.

Mr. Francis Odongkara, a witness who survived the attack, told Amuru leaders that the attackers broke his harm claiming that him was trespassing on Ms. Mystica’s land.

He added that the attackers left behind a national Identity Card of a one Mr. Dricile Yudda who hails from Olevu village, Odupi sub-county in Terego district and a copy of minute of a meeting that was held in Adjumani district that entailed on how they planned the attack.  Thes National Identity Card number is 012233398.

“This attack has not been caused by civilians in Adjumani but is the work of some powerful politicians in government who want to grab our land. We need security from the police and army to protect the over 20,000 residents of Apaa. You should look for peaceful means to resolve the conflict before we retaliate in revenge attacks”, says Mr. Odongkara.

An elder, Mr. Jarvis Onek Atunya tasked the leaders to urge the government to intervene into the matter arguing that they should urgently organize a Referendum to determine to the right district that the people of Apaa should belong to.

“This is the politics of Moses Ali (the first Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader of Government in Uganda’s Parliament) which is bringing the animosity between the Madi (Adjumani) and Amuru (Acholi). We don’t want to be transferred to Adjumani district. If they insist, then government should organize a referendum for us. We know our rights”, says Atunya.

The Chairman, Mr. Lakony, however, blamed the locals for encouraging the people from Adjumani to settle in the area, adding that they should desist fro selling their land of the people form Adjumani.

“There is no foreigner who comes here without authorization from you and your Local Council One chairmen because you sell your land to these foreigners. I have not found anywhere in the world where fifty civilians can chase over two hundred civilians from their land except in Apaa”, says Lakony.

Mr. Lakony says government was in the process of sending relief items like foodstuffs, medicine and polythene sheets for roofing to the affected families.

Mr. Akol, also cautioned the residents of Apaa on engaging in any business transactions– selling foodstuffs or land to the people of Adjumani— until the dispute is resolved.

“The people of Madi tribe cannot kill all Acholi people. You all know that our forefathers fought wars to protect the land you are now possessing. You should make sure that nobody from Madi crosses here (Apaa) and I have given government two weeks ultimatum to resolve the conflict”, he noted.

 

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