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Acholi Leaders Petition President Museveni Over Apaa Conflicts

Akol says that on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th of June this year, a group of armed arsonists stormed the area, assaulted and injured twenty-seven people, burnt down 300 huts, and looted several household items, livestock, and poultry noting that it would keep them in abject poverty.
APG Chairperson Anthony Akol (L) engages a police officer after MPs were blocked from accessing Apaa Township. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara

Audio 4

Leaders from the Acholi sub-region on Saturday petitioned President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni demanding his intervention to sort out the recurring insecurity in Apaa Township once and for all.

The leaders say that the Acholi communities residing in Apaa Township which borders Adjumani and Amuru districts are experiencing gross violation of human rights and recurrent armed attacks from certain people. 

  

The petition was presented to the President by Anthony Akol, the Acholi Parliamentary Group Chairperson and also Member of Parliament for Kilak North in Amuru district from Baralege State Lodge in Otuke district during the President`s meeting with leaders from Acholi and Lango Sub regions.

  

Akol says that from the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, to the 5th of June this year, a group of armed arsonists stormed the area, assaulted and injured twenty-seven people, burnt down 300 huts, and looted several household items, livestock, and poultry noting that this would keep them in abject poverty.  

He noted that the people in the area are living in fear, camped in different places, and suffering without food, clothing, and shelter. 

The leaders want the President to come out and sort out the issue of the area once and for all.   

They also want the President to ensure maximum security and uphold the human rights and dignity of the people regardless of which tribes they belong to.  

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As he pleaded with the President while on his knees and in near tears, Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South Member of Parliament says that there is serious insecurity in Apaa.

  

He says that the suspected gangs are an organized group of people that requires the President to reign over them. 

Olanya also says that the security personnel in the area has severally blocked elected leaders from Acholi from accessing the area.  

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After receiving the petition, President Museveni admitted failure in resolving the matter noting that he failed to conclude the matter due to his delay in working with the judicial commission of inquiries which they had agreed on.

  

He also cautioned politicians and leaders in the area against misleading the people in the area to fuel conflicts. He pledged to constitute a committee immediately to address the area's insecurity and border tension.   

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However, Jackson Kafuuzi who was a member of the Apaa inquiry select committee told the President and leaders that the problems in Apaa are being politically driven noting that the map has confirmed that the area is in the Adjumani district hence no need for conflicts. 

 

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The major disputes around the township related to its ownership, economic land use for settlement or wildlife conservation, and geographical boundaries of Amuru and Adjumani after the area measuring about 200 square kilometers were controversially declared a conservation area in 2002. 

  

Uganda Wildlife Authority claims that Parliament gazetted the area, a Wildlife reserve, after the Adjumani district local government declared it as part of East Madi Game Reserve. 

  

Amuru district challenged the decision in Court. Former Local Government Minister Tom Butime also declared the area part of the Adjumani district in 2017.