The chairpersons include Kenneth Okot of Atiak Town Council, Samuel AKera of Atiak Sub County, and Peter Lukwiya of Opara Sub County. They were arrested by the police on Friday on allegations of arson and malicious damage, following an operation they conducted against illegal charcoal dealers in the area.
They are accused of torching seven makeshift huts, burning 240 bags of stacked charcoal and hundreds of heaps of piled charcoal logs, killing poultry, damaging two solar panels and clothes belonging to Michael Okema Opilo the former Chairperson for Elegu Town council.
The Adjumani Resident District Commissioner Peter Taban Data says that security personnel comprising of the army and police repulsed the armed men. He acknowledges that the suspects are from the Madi community seeking revenge over Wednesday’s attacks against their colleagues.
The operation which was conducted at Ogom Raa and Tee-Got parishes in Okidi Village was led by the Environmental Police Protection Unit. Hundreds of temporary structures, piles of logs for burning, and kilns of already burning charcoal were destroyed.
The suspects, all employees of Kony Paco Foundation, a village saving group in Parabongo Parish in Lamogi Sub-county were arrested following complaints from their clients. The suspects have been identified as Vincent Kica, the Director of the group, Charles Odonga Kitara, the Assistant Director, and Geoffrey Acellam, the Group’s Loan Officer.
Apollo Okello, the Amuru District Education Secretary told URN that the clubs will be activated in all the 56 primary and secondary schools in the district. He says that the clubs will also include vulnerable categories and will be overseen by the school management committees (SMCs), Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs), and senior male and female teachers.
Apollo Okello, the Amuru District Education Secretary told URN on Saturday that the district has no specific provision for attending to pregnant or learners with babies but has opened up to allow them to come with people to attend to their babies.
Brutal skirmishes over the land however intensified in October 2017, after the then Local Government Minister Tom Butime, annexed the land from Pabbo Sub-county in Amuru District and officially handed it to Adjumani District Local government.
More than 51,000 acres of land in the villages of Kaladima, Pacilo Palokere, and parts of Pawel in the greater Atiak Sub-county are currently being occupied by pastoralists commonly referred to as Balaalo.
Currently, a kilo of unhusked groundnuts is 1,500 Shillings while a kilo of threshed groundnuts ranges between 2,000 to 2,400 Shillings. Yet last year, a kilo of unthreshed groundnuts was bought at 2700 while a kilo or threshed groundnuts was selling at 3,500 shillings.
Following an inspection conducted by a team from the education and works department in the past two weeks, a total of 1970 desks were found to have been damaged. Some of the most affected schools include Kololo, Bana, Otorokume, Ogom Raa Palema, Agwayugi among primary schools.
John Bosco Megolonyo another resident in Lamogi Sub County said that his family has abandoned drawing water from the affected boreholes after suffering stomach aches and skin rashes, something they believed was linked to unclean water from the borehole.
“The members are devastated because they expected money, we were going to start cutting and selling the sugarcanes this week, so we have lost billions of shillings,” S
Santa Joyce Laker, the Chairperson of Atiak Sugar Plantation Out-growers Cooperative Society Ltd told Uganda Radio Network.
Joyce Lanyero, the Amuru District Education Officer told URN during an interview that the desks were eaten by termites while some were destroyed by vandals neighboring the affected schools due to lack of lockable doors, guards, and perimeter fences.