The State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem told URN that all land transactions between the balalo herdsmen and any parties in the district must be suspended until the committee verifies the type of transactions and land ownerships of all the herdsmen in the area.
personnel in Amuru District have suspended all land transactions to the nomadic
The resolution followed last Thursday’s directive by a select committee that
was established by President Yoweri Museveni to have all the balalo herdsmen in
the district vetted and their processes of acquiring lands thoroughly audited.
The three-man committee is headed by Gen. David Muhoozi the State Minister for
Internal Affairs and comprises the State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry
Okello Oryem, the Minister of State for Animal Industry, Lt. Col. Bright
They are currently traversing the Acholi Sub Region following complaints of the
invasion of the balalo herdsmen and concerns of fraudulently acquiring lands
for herding their livestock.
The State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem told URN that all
land transactions between the balalo herdsmen and any parties in the district
must be suspended until the committee verifies the type of transactions and
land ownerships of all the herdsmen in the area.
Oryem says that the directive took effect this week and will stand
until January 25th or maybe be bond to extension, citing that some of the
herdsmen fraudulently acquired lands in the areas, while some of them were sold
lands belonging to the cultural institution without the notice and approval of
local leaders and the cultural institution.
Gen. David Muhoozi the State Minister for Internal Affairs added that all land
transactions between the period will be canceled and not recognized by the
vetting and auditing committee.
The auditing and vetting committee will comprise the cultural institution, and
the district security teams as well as the local leaders.
The Attiak Sub County Chairperson, Samuel Akera welcomed the decision noting
that the unregulated sale of land to pastoralists has imposed security threats
to the community because some people are unscrupulously selling land that they
don`t own hence causing violence.
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Justo Okot Gwanga, Deputy Prime Minister Attiak Chiefdom noted that the
unregulated land transactions have made the chiefdom lose some of its cultural
sites, natural resources, and communal land to the herdsmen without the
knowledge of the institution.
In Okidi Parish, Attiak Sub County, local leaders estimate that the herdsmen
are grazing more than 15,000 heads of cattle in the area.
Anthony Akol, the Chairperson Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) Chairperson
noted that the residents are selling their lands for as low as Shillings
200,000 or 400,000 per acre.
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However, Beswerry Katunka, one of the herdsmen in Okidi Parish says they
rightfully acquired 2,284 acres of land from the owners.
In November 2020, President Yoweri Museveni directed police backed by the
military to ensure that pastoralists seeking to graze in the Acholi sub-region
procure land and fence it to restrict animals from encroaching on gardens.
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