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Residents Want Annexation of Disputed Apaa to Adjumani Revoked

Apaa is now considered part of Adjumani District after a map drawn by the British imperialists in 1911 found the contested area that is home to over 10,000 residents part of East Madi Game Reserve.
19 Aug 2021 19:08
UWA's Cpt Tonny Olinga (L), Morris Oloya Taban (C) and Lovis Okello (R) appearing before the UPDF 4th Division Court Martial over Apaa shooting - Photo by Dominic Ochola

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Residents of the contested Apaa want the Government to revoke their annexation to Adjumani District.

Apaa is now considered part of Adjumani District after a map drawn by the British imperialists in 1911 found the contested area that is home to over 10,000 residents part of East Madi Game Reserve.

This follows a recent spate of deadly violent attacks against the Acholi community by unknown people purportedly Madi people from neighbouring Ititikwa Sub-County in Adjumani District, that left two residents dead and scores injured.

Maorian Okumu, the Apaa sub-village chairperson says that they are constantly living in fear on the land that they have occupied for decades following the attacks on their settlements by some people from Madi.

Okumu contends that their annexation to Adjumani was a disservice to them yet before the changes, they were peacefully benefiting from social services like education and treatment from Amuru District Local Government.

Santo Okot, another resident argues that since 1982 when he was born, he has known Apaa as their cradle home. He says that the decision to annex them to Adjumani was selfish and will brew unending conflicts between the Madi and Acholi.

//Cue in..."Atye ka neno….”

Cue out…ada ii Apaa”//

Last week leaders from Acholi sought an audience with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to intervene and pronounce himself on Apaa to bring the deadly conflict that dates back to February 2002 to an end.

Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Chairperson of Local Government Accounts Committee and MP for Gulu West Division who was part of the team that met the President observed that the Apaa conflict leaves people with a lot of suspicions against the Government for lack of political will to end the bloodshed in Apaa.

//Cue in..."We are tempted….”

Cue out…the citizens go?”//

To date, at least 20 people have been killed and dozens injured as a result of deadly sporadic clashes between the Uganda Wildlife Authority – UWA, Acholi in Amuru and Madi people from neighbouring Adjumani.

In 1973, the government resolved to allow Apaa residents to return and occupy their ancestral land. However, the outbreak of the 20-year Lord’s Resistance Army war from 1986 to 2002 forced people into displaced camps.

In 2002, while people were still in camps, Parliament gazetted Apaa a wildlife reserve. Consequently, Adjumani District Local Council resolved to designate it the East Madi wildlife conservation area.

Following an end to the LRA conflict, the regulation threatened the resettlement process after the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) made several hostile attempts to block the inhabitants from returning to their land.