Clashes Leave One Dead, Two Injured on Disputed Apaa Land

Peter Data Taban, Adjumani Resident District Commissioner alleges the attack was orchestrated by about ten men of Acholi origin who are suspected to have crossed from Apaa Trading center.
Madi community members carry a man injured in a revenge attack on Disputed apaa land in February 2019.

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One person has been killed and three others are nursing severe injuries following a tribal clash between the Acholi and Madi ethnic communities occupying the disputed Apaa land in Adjumani district.

The incident happened on Wednesday in Ngoro village, Itirikwa Sub-county, five kilometers outside Apaa Trading center.

Peter Data Taban, Adjumani Resident District Commissioner alleges the attack was orchestrated by about ten men of Acholi origin who are suspected to have crossed from Apaa Trading center. 

He says the attackers who were armed with clubs, machetes, and spears on that fateful day raided the home of a Madi peasant farmer and attacked him over an unknown motive. Taban says the victim’s neighbors who heard the scuffle rushed to his rescue but were overpowered and severely beaten.

He says one of the victims died later on arrival at Mungula Health Center IV where they were being rushed for emergency medical treatment. Taban identified the deceased as Alex Uruga 40, while the injured who are still receiving medical treatment at Mungula Health Center IV are Adinani Amaku 40, and Draga 41. Taban says one person identified as David Ambayo has since gone missing after the scuffle.

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Taba says three grass thatched huts were also torched during the raid and suspects the attack could be motivated by conflict over land. The deceased body according to Taban is still lying at Adjumani Hospital morgue waiting for a postmortem test to ascertain the exact cause of death.

He says efforts are underway to trace for one of the missing people while an investigation is ongoing to bring the culprits to books.

Maoriane Abola, the Apaa Village Chairperson disputes the claims by the Adjumani RDC and alleges that the attackers were of Madi origin who came to attack his people of Acholi.

He notes that the attackers one of whom was killed and two others injured are part of a group of organized locals who have been terrorizing locals by torching their huts, torturing them, and destroying their crops in a bid to force them away from their land.

Abola says the community members yesterday afternoon put up a defense and overpowered the assailants adding that others escaped alive.

“It’s not true that our people went and attacked the Madi people, that area where the incident happened is home to one of the Acholi farmers. When the attackers went on Wednesday, they were overpowered because the locals were tired of their persistent threats,” says Abola.

Captain Hassan Kato, the Fourth Infantry Division Spokesperson says Uganda People's Defence Forces-UPDF soldiers are already pursuing the attackers to ensure they are apprehended. He adds they are also carrying out a search for one of the missing persons who is suspected to have been abducted by the assailants.

There has been relative calm in Apaa Township for more than four months since an attack in September last year that left two people injured. Dispute over the boundary of the land both claimed by Adjumani and Amuru District Local governments and Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA spans for close to a decade now. 

Ever since the disputed land was demarcated by the former Local Government Minister Tom Butime in October 2017, fights over its ownership have escalated and turned brutal fueling a series of confrontations between the Acholi and Madi communities.

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