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Two Killed, One Injured in Apaa Land Conflict

UPDF Patrolling Apaa Market in 2023 following similar attacks Photo by Ivan Tolit

A revenge attack on the disputed Apaa land claimed by both the Amuru and Adjumani districts has claimed the lives of two people and left one other injured.

The deceased persons were reportedly attacked in the early hours of Monday morning in Lianguru village, Fuda Parish in Pakele Sub-County, Adjumani district by men armed with machetes, bows, and arrows.

Security personnel have identified those killed only as Juliano Taku 57 and Drani Arikanjelo, all Madi tribesmen and residents of Lianguru village.

Information Uganda Radio Network obtained from security personnel indicates that renewed attacks between the two communities started on Sunday after a group of 30 men attacked the Acholi community in Kalacut village.

The assailants reportedly invaded the home of a local farmer identified only as Akekwa, undressed him, and tied him up on a tree before burning his hut and 15 others and later injuring another person on the buttocks.

The Acholi community reportedly retaliated on Monday and attacked the Madi community in Lianguru village killing two people and destroying several properties.

Capt. Hassan Ahmed Kato, the Fourth Infantry Division Spokesperson confirmed the incident to Uganda Radio Network Tuesday saying the army has commenced an investigation. 

Capt. Kato says the security has been beefed up northward of Pabbo Sub-County to avert further violence and restore calmness and called on the locals to cooperate with security.

Adjumani Resident District Commissioner Peter Taban Data says the bodies of the deceased have been transferred to Adjumani Hospital for postmortem.

He however refuted claims that the incident happened in the disputed Apaa land arguing that the two communities of Acholi and Madi were disputing over a community land in Pakele Subcounty inside Adjumani territory.

Charles Okoya, the LCI Chairperson of Apaa Village however explained that the attacks began last week when locals embarked on repairing a community access road ahead. He said when the locals reached an area occupied by the Madi Community, they were confronted adding that three boda boda riders were arrested and tied to a tree.

Okoya also claimed that while security estimates  16 huts have been torched, more than 200 grass-thatched were destroyed in a weekend attack by yet-to-be-identified armed men accompanied by soldiers.

According to Okoya, hundreds of people have since been displaced and many others are fleeing for fear of further attacks.

The attack comes just less than three months after six people were killed and 11 others injured in an attack by unknown assailants in Te-Okono village between Acholi ber and Punu Dyang Parish in the disputed Apaa land. Three of the deceased hailed from Central Uganda while three others were Madi tribesmen.

Brig. Michael Kabango, the Fourth Infantry Division Commander in an address to residents of Apaa in December last year faulted security personnel for failing to avert the attacks.

Consequently, Col. Bernard Rubainika Kashemeza, the former Brigade Commander of the 501 brigade was sacked and replaced with Lt. Col Kenneth Buruga Ahimbisbwe.

Conflict over Apaa land has persisted since 2012. The government claims part of the area estimated to cover 827 sq. km falls within the East Madi Wildlife Reserve and Zoka Central Forest and has on several occasions attempted to evict the occupants.

In a bid to end the tension over the land, President Museveni in August last year set up the Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by retired Chief Justice Bart Katureebe calling it the best solution to deal with the Apaa land dispute. The commission is however yet to start their work.

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