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Residents in Apaa Township Abandon Farming over Fear

Kenneth Opoka the Local Chairperson for Lulai Village says that hundreds of farmers in his area have resorted to small scale farming majorly around their homesteads for fears that they may be attacked while cultivating in distant places.
Residents Of Apaa Gathered At A Meeting With Acholi Leaders In Apaa Township In 2017

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Several farmers in the contested Apaa Township are reluctant to open up their farmlands this planting season citing insecurity and fears of attacks.   

Previously farmers in the area would plant varieties of crops on several acres of land which are later sold to the neighbouring districts of Adjumani, Gulu, South Sudan and major trading centres in Amuru such as Elegu, Attiak and Pabbo.   

But Kenneth Opoka the Local Chairperson for Lulai Village says that hundreds of farmers in his area have resorted to small scale farming majorly around their homesteads for fears that they may be attacked while cultivating in distant places.   

Opoka explained that there are still cases of attacks by armed uniform men and civilians in the area over ownership of the land, something that has instilled fears among farmers and deterred them from cultivating on large scale for fear of losing their crops or even their lives to the attackers.   

He disclosed that last week the local authorities in the area tasked the Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) through Lieutenant Christopher Ronald Ongom, the officer-in-charge of Apaa Army detach to intensify patrols in the area and provide maximum security for the people.  

Anthony Ocaya, a farmer in the area also says that people are still scared of going to distant farmlands away from the trading centre to dig for fear that they may be attacked or kidnapped by the armed men as has been the case before.   

He noted that he has equally resorted to planting crops around his homestead much as he has huge plots of land which are far away from the trading centre.   

Abraham Okello, another resident in the area says it is better to cultivate on a small scale around the homestead which is in the vicinity of the people rather than going to distant places and get killed or injured.   

However, in his response during the last week`s security meeting, Lt. Ongom urged the residents to continue with their farm works noting that security in the area is being properly manned and now free of attacks.   

Nicholas Akena, a resident of Lulai village in the contested area told URN that last month he was battered by unknown four men who waylaid and accused him of encroaching on land belonging to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).   

Apaa Township bordering Adjumani and Amuru districts has been the epicentre of violent conflicts over ancestral ownership of the land with both the Acholi and Madi community claiming it.   

On the other hand, UWA also says that the area is in the Madi Game Reserve and being illegally occupied by the people.

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