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Apaa Clashes: Security Personnel Faulted for Negligence :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Apaa Clashes: Security Personnel Faulted for Negligence

Fourth Infantry Division commander Brig. Michael Kabango told Uganda Radio Network on Monday that some security personnel are encouraging the influx of locals inside the gazeted Zoka Central Forest Reserve and East Madi Wildlife Reserve.
A woman rummages through her burnt properties in a previous attack by armed men in Acholi Ber village, Apaa Township on 14 February 2018.

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The army has blamed some of its officers for negligence that resulted in a deadly clash in the disputed Apaa land, claimed by both Amuru and Adjumani districts.

At least six people were reportedly killed, and 11 others injured in separate attacks by unknown assailants between Thursday and Saturday in the parishes of Oyanga, Luru, and Acholi Ber in Itirikwa Sub-county.

The assailants according to local leaders, wielded machetes, bows, and arrows during the separate raids that resulted in the death of three people from central Uganda and three others from Adjumani.

Fourth Infantry Division commander Brig. Michael Kabango told Uganda Radio Network on Monday that some security personnel are encouraging the influx of locals inside the gazeted Zoka Central Forest Reserve and East Madi Wildlife Reserve.

Brig. Kabango said the security personnel whom he didn’t identify are directly liable for the recent clashes that left locals dead and others injured. He notes that the army will take action against them for their negligence.

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Brig. Kabango claimed that the latest clashes were triggered over interests of land grab among the locals who encroached into the Wildlife Reserve and the Forest Reserve.

He says the army has heavily deployed in the affected areas to ensure there isn’t a repeat of the clash and notes that those illegally occupying the areas have equally been pushed out.

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Brig. Kabango however called for calm among the locals and leaders and warned against the encroachment of government lands in the disputed area.

Charles Okoya, the LCI Chairperson of Apaa Township faulted security personnel comprising the army and police for always failing to respond to their alerts in time. He says on several occasions; they have informed security personnel about suspicious individuals roaming the affected villages, but they always rubbished them as rumors.

81-year-old Jervise Onek Atunya, a resident of Arii village in Apaa Township equally blames security officers deployed in the area for ignoring reports of invasion given to them by concerned locals.

“Locals are tired of giving reports to the security officers because even if you share with them, they don’t do anything about it. Right now, there are ongoing attacks on innocent civilians and the burning of houses while others have been arrested and these have angered our people,” says Atunya.

Peter Taban Data, the Adjumani Resident District Commissioner told Uganda Radio Network in an interview over the weekend that security hadn’t arrested any culprit about the separate attacks but noted investigations were already ongoing.

Meanwhile, security over the weekend began the forceful eviction of residents occupying areas that fall within the protected East Madi Wildlife Reserve and Zoka Central Forest Reserve.

At least 56 people mainly from the Central Part of Uganda were among those forced out of the area on Sunday according to security officials. Those evicted included women, men, and children who are currently stuck in Gulu City where they are camping at Gulu Main Bus Park in the Pece-Laroo division.

Peter Banya, the Deputy Resident City Commissioner in charge of the Pece-Laroo Division says those evicted had been given ample time to relocate but were reluctant to leave.

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In February, President Museveni suspended the eviction of locals from the disputed area a week after Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja gave a 90-day ultimatum for those occupying the protected land to voluntarily leave.

The President however reasoned that Nabbanja’s directives were based on old cabinet decisions and promised the land dispute would be resolved after independent investigations by a Judicial Commission of inquiry he commissioned in August this year are conducted.  The commission led by retired Chief Justice Bart Katureebe is yet to start their work.