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Sorry State of Attiak-Palabek Road Irks Residents

The road connects the districts of Amuru, Lamwo and Kitgum and Gulu via Palaro. The murram road is currently in a sorry state with numerous potholes, poor drainages, mud and a section of it cut-off and becoming impassable.
A boda boda motorcyclist maneuvers through the damaged road. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara

Audio 3

Heavy rains and trucks have worsened the state of the 51-kilometre Attiak-Palabek road.

The road connects the districts of Amuru, Lamwo and Kitgum and Gulu via Palaro. The murram road is currently in a sorry state with numerous potholes, poor drainages, mud and a section of it cut-off and becoming impassable.  

It has been in this condition for the last two years since it was last rehabilitated by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).   

It is also the main road that connects to Palabek Refugees Camp in Lamwo district as well as other education and health facilities including Attiak Health Centre IV, Okidi Health Centre II, Okidi Primary School and Don Bosco Vocational Training Centre among others.   

The road users say that the most dangerous spots include the areas of Amori and around Amori swamp, Karutu village, Ajayi and towards the Unyama River Bridge and Okidi East and Larubi hills.   

Mateo Okidi, a boda-boda operator in Okidi Parish says that a section of the road has been cut off and become impassable due to the heavy rainfall that is being experienced in the Northern Region of late.  

He explained that fast-flowing water resulting from torrential rain has created numerous potholes, cut off a section of the road and filled it up with mud.  

Okidi noted that taking risks to pass through the dangerous spots has also led to an increase in their transport fares.  

Boda Boda operators currently charge 15,000 Shillings from Attiak Trading Centre to Okidi which is only about three kilometres apart down from Shillings 5,000.

Meanwhile from Attiak trading to centre to Payiro which is about one kilometre is now 5,000 and 8,000 Shillings as opposed to 2,000 Shillings before. 

Luo Byte:  

//Cue in ‘’kenyo me aa…   

Cue out: …Karutu-Okidi 15,000.’’//   

Translation: 

‘’From the centre to Karutu is now at least 5,000 or even when it rains but before it was Shillings 2,000 or 3,000 but the centre to Okidi is even Shillings 15,000.’’ He explained that manoeuvring through the road has become a matter of risks of exposure to accidents or damage of machines hence the need for higher charges.

Sharon Atim, a resident of Amuru district said that she recently paid Shillings 70,000 for a Boda Boda from Attiak trading centre to Palabek yet initially it would cost between Shillings 50,000 and 55,000. 

Samuel Okot, the LC1 Chairperson for Pupwonya South village which lies across the dangerous spots said that at least two cases of minor and serious accidents are registered along the road daily whether it rains or not.

Luo Byte:  

//Cue in: ‘’yoo eni tye…   

Cue out: …Kitgum Local Government.’’//   

Translation:    

‘’The road is indeed in a very bad state and it is blocking movements and even causing accidents. Motorcycle accidents and even vehicles are overturning. Especially the area around the eucalyptus trees. The problem is that when we raise the concerns to our leaders in Amuru district they say that the road is under Kitgum Local Government.’’.  

The latest case was registered last week where two Boda Boda operators who veered off the steep drainage collided, both sustained serious injuries in which one broke his thigh and leg.  

Okot who appealed for an immediate response from UNRA explained that the poor state of the road has not only affected persons using vehicles but also those who foot.   

He attributed the worsening state of the road especially this rainy season to numerous heavy trucks ferrying logs and bags of charcoal which traverse it daily as well as those buying mangoes in bulk.  

Okidi Parish lying along the road is an area that is greatly occupied by illegal charcoal dealers and loggers.