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Four Killed in Renewed Attack in Apaa :: Uganda Radionetwork

Four Killed in Renewed Attack in Apaa

Charles Okoya, the Vice Chairperson of Apaa Sub-Parish in Apaa Township told Uganda Radio Network in an interview Friday that the assailants numbering about 100 men had camped in the area for one week.
Some of the grass thatched huts burnt down by unknown assailants in the disputed Apaa land.

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Four people have been confirmed dead while 35 grass-thatched huts razed following an attack by unknown assailants in the disputed Apaa Township.

The deceased were attacked on Wednesday by assailants reportedly wielding bows, arrows, and clubs in Te-Okono village between Acholi ber and Punu dyang.

Local leaders have identified those killed as Walter Ocan 28, Justine Odong 53, Daniel Oloya 31, and Maurensio Obwona 50.   Their bodies were recovered on Thursday with piles of clubs abandoned near them.

The attack also left four people Injured. Two are receiving medical treatment at Mungula Health Center IV while the others have been rushed to St Mary's Hospital Lacor. 

Charles Okoya, the Vice Chairperson of Apaa Sub-Parish in Apaa Township told Uganda Radio Network in an interview Friday that the assailants numbering about 100 men had camped in the area for one week.

Okoya says the attackers suspected to be Madi tribesmen launched their attack on Wednesday despite local residents alerting security personnel about the intrusion.

He notes that several grass-thatched huts have been torched while livestock and food crops have been looted by the assailants during the attack adding that four people suspected to have been abducted are still missing.

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According to Okoya, the deceased bodies were on Thursday transported to Mungula Health Center IV morgue for postmortem to ascertain the exact cause of their death.

Okoya however criticized security personnel in Apaa township for their reluctance to respond to their calls when the assailants illegally intruded in their area.

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Abraham Opiro, a resident of Apaa village also faulted the police for ignoring their messages over unknown people who had camped illegally on their land arguing that had they responded, no life would have been lost.

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Peter Taban Data, the Adjumani Resident District Commissioner didn't immediately comment on the matter when called for an interview citing he was busy in a meeting.

Kilak North legislator who doubles as the Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) Chairperson condemned the attack and called for speedy investigation by security so that the culprits are apprehended.

He says the attack undermines concerted efforts initiated by several stakeholders in the region and central government to ensure peace prevails over the disputed territory.

Akol however raised frustration with the newly appointed Judicial Commission of Inquiry for not kicking off their work and noted that the central government should take over management of Apaa in the meantime.

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Fourth Infantry Division Spokesperson Maj. Telesphor Turyamumanya says security personnel comprising the army, Police, and UWA rangers are pursuing the attackers to face justice.

The latest attack comes less than a month after the President swore in the Judicial Commission of Inquiry members headed by retired Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe to kick off the investigation into the decade-long Apaa land dispute.

Other members of the commission are Justice Alice Mpagi Bahigaine, Justice Steven George Engwau, Joyce Gunze Habaasa, Dr. Fred Henry Bateganya, George Omunyokol, and Imelda Adongo.

Contention over Apaa started in 2012 when Adjumani District Council gazetted the area as East Madi Game Reserve, sparking off disagreement with Amuru district which claimed ownership of the same land.

The conflict was further fueled when the Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers moved in and started the forceful eviction of residents claiming they were illegally occupying a game reserve. In 2017, the dispute turned bloody after the then-local Government Minister Tom Butime annexed the area formerly under Pabbo Sub-county in Amuru District and handed it to Adjumani District.

Several concerted efforts to find lasting peace over the land conflict including the appointment of committees headed by former Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, former Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah, the Equal Opportunities Commission, and cultural leaders over the years have yielded no fruits.

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