Kenneth Opoka the Local Chairperson for Lulai Village says that hundreds of farmers in his area have resorted to small scale farming majorly around their homesteads for fears that they may be attacked while cultivating in distant places.
Several farmers in the contested Apaa Township are reluctant to
open up their farmlands this planting season citing insecurity and fears of
Previously farmers in the area would plant varieties of crops on several acres
of land which are later sold to the neighbouring districts of Adjumani, Gulu,
South Sudan and major trading centres in Amuru such as Elegu, Attiak and Pabbo.
But Kenneth Opoka the Local Chairperson for Lulai Village says that hundreds of
farmers in his area have resorted to small scale farming majorly around their
homesteads for fears that they may be attacked while cultivating in distant
Opoka explained that there are still cases of attacks by armed uniform men and
civilians in the area over ownership of the land, something that has instilled
fears among farmers and deterred them from cultivating on large scale for fear
of losing their crops or even their lives to the attackers.
He disclosed that last week the local authorities in the area tasked the Uganda
People's Defense Force (UPDF) through Lieutenant Christopher Ronald Ongom, the
officer-in-charge of Apaa Army detach to intensify patrols in the area and
provide maximum security for the people.
Anthony Ocaya, a farmer in the area also says that people are still scared of
going to distant farmlands away from the trading centre to dig for fear that
they may be attacked or kidnapped by the armed men as has been the case before.
He noted that he has equally resorted to planting crops around his homestead
much as he has huge plots of land which are far away from the trading centre.
Abraham Okello, another resident in the area says it is better to cultivate on
a small scale around the homestead which is in the vicinity of the people
rather than going to distant places and get killed or injured.
However, in his response during the last week`s security meeting, Lt. Ongom
urged the residents to continue with their farm works noting that security in
the area is being properly manned and now free of attacks.
Nicholas Akena, a resident of Lulai village in the contested area told URN that
last month he was battered by unknown four men who waylaid and accused him of
encroaching on land belonging to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Apaa Township bordering Adjumani and Amuru districts has been the epicentre of
violent conflicts over ancestral ownership of the land with both the Acholi and
Madi community claiming it.
On the other hand, UWA also says that the area is in the Madi Game Reserve and
being illegally occupied by the people.
Emmy Daniel Ojara is a young journalist and has been practicing since 2013, during which he covered land rights violation in the contested Apaa and Lakang in Amuru as his first take ups while at Gulu Fm, Favor Fm and later Paidha Fm and Speak Fm where he is still attached.
Human rights abuses and denied access to land by security and government agencies has been the major aftermath of the contest over the lands. The underprivileged such as women, children and the elderly faced challenges in accessing soc