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Heavy Security Deployment in Apaa Township Following Arson Attack

Justine Ayella, another victim from Rwot Oromo is appealing to the government to intervene and protect the rights of the people in the area as the land ownership questions are settled.
Fred Ojok who was injured during the attack.

Audio 4

There is heavy security deployment in Apaa Township bordering Adjumani and Amuru districts following the recent arsonist attack on the residents. Security personnel composing soldiers and police officers are seen in and around Pak Apaka, Zoka, Oyanga, and Rwot Oromo villages.  

Suspected arsonists stormed the villages between Friday night and Tuesday morning attacked and set more than 200 grass-thatched houses ablaze, looted household properties, and assaulted residents. At least six residents are nursing injuries they sustained from the attack. Residents and local leaders in the area say the attackers asked them to vacate the area. 

On Tuesday, security officials led by Major Caesar Olweny visited the area to assess the situation and institute inquiries into the arson attack. Ignatius Dragudu, the Greater Madi Region Police Spokesperson told URN on Wednesday that dozens of security personnel comprising the army and police were deployed in the area on Tuesday to contain the situation and avert further attacks on residents.

Dragudu disclosed that two people suspected to have been part of the arson attack were arrested and detained at Adjumani police station but were released after interrogations. One of the residents, who only identified himself as Opiru told URN that the heavily armed security personnel are in Pak Apaka, Rwot Oromo, and Oyanga where several people have taken refuge following the attacks.   

Hundreds of people who lost their houses and properties in the arson attacks are appealing to the government for relief items, saying that they are living helplessly with friends and well-wishers. Some of them have pitched camp at Oyanga, and Apaa Centres for safety but without basic needs such as bedding, shelter, clothing, and food. 

Evelyn Odwelo, who escaped from Rwot Oromo and is currently at Oyanga Centre wants the government to provide food, bedding, and temporary shelter for her and her children.  

//Cue in: ‘’lega wa dong…  

 

Cue out: …wang me kica.’’//    

Justine Ayella, another victim from Rwot Oromo is appealing to the government to intervene and protect the rights of the people in the area as the land ownership questions are settled. 

//Cue in: ‘’eno ikum 10…  

 

Cue out: …wun luteal wa.’’//   

Richard Ojwang, the LC 1 Chairperson of Rwot Oromo wants the security to protect the people from further attacks.

//Cue in: ‘’wu wango odi…    

Cue out: …tamo ne ikumwa.’’// 

 

Santos Okot, an activist in Amuru district wants the government and stakeholders to expedite the processes of restoring peace and normalcy in the area.  On Tuesday, a group of concerned youths from the Acholi Sub-region led by Geoffrey Okwera, the Amuru district youth chairperson tasked the government to protect the people of Apaa Township regardless of their status in the area.

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.