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Armed Group Invades Apaa, Occupies Chunk of Land

Denis Okot, a resident of Acholiber, says the armed men numbering 30 started invading the area on Saturday evening and by Sunday yesterday, their numbers had grown to over 60. According to Okot, the armed men who speak predominantly Madi are chasing away people from their homes and erecting temporary structures. He says several people including him have fled the area to nearby Punudyang village for fear of their lives.
A Sign Post between Amuru and Adjumani districts. Photo by Michael Ojok

Audio 2

A group of unknown people armed with bows and arrows, pangas and spears numbering over 60 have invaded Acholiber village in the Contested Apaa area. Acholiber has an estimated population of about 1000 people with some now on the run for their dear lives due to the invasion.

Denis Okot, a resident of Acholiber, says the armed men numbering 30 started invading the area on Saturday evening and by Sunday yesterday, their numbers had grown to over 60 people.

  

According to Okot, the armed men who speak predominantly Madi are chasing away people from their homes and erecting temporary structures. He says many people himself included have fled the area to nearby Punudyang village in fear for their lives. 

  Francis Opong, another resident of the area says the armed men who they suspect to have come from Adjumani are also destroying their houses and crops from the gardens. He says they have now reported the matter to the district leaders.

  

Michael Lakony, Amuru district LCV chairperson confirms that development saying they are advising the community to remain calm and not engage into revenge fights or attacks.

 

According to Lakony, the invaders are taking advantage of the withdrawal of the UPDF army from the Acholiber where a detach had been established to prevent more attacks.

 

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Anthony Akol, Kilak North MP says, he has forwarded the matter to Jacob Oulanyah, the Deputy Speaker who is heading the committee on Apaa to understand why the UPDF who were deployed there were withdrawn. 

 

James Leku, Adjumani district LCV chairperson says Acholiber is a wildlife reserve making it illegal for communities from both Amuru and Adjumani to live there. Leku however says he is not aware of the invasion allegations.

  

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Major Telesphor Turyamumanya, the UPDF 4th Division spokesperson declined to comment on the matter saying he was making further inquiries with the intelligence department of the army. 

  

Apaa land dispute arises from claims by both communities from Amuru and Adjumani as well government agencies including the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the National Forests Authority. Several people have been killed in attacks and properties destroyed in the past three years.

Recently, the government instituted a committee headed by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah to find amicable solutions to the land dispute.