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UPDF Beefs Up Deployment in Apaa Township

Several soldiers from the 4th Division headquarters in Gulu have been stationed in a detach set up at Juka Trading Center, some 3 Kilometers North of Apaa Town.
Residents Of Apaa Gathered At A Meeting With Acholi Leaders In Apaa Township In 2017
The army has beefed up deployment in disputed Apaa Township on the wake of renewed violence that has displaced more than 600 residents.

Several soldiers from the 4th Division headquarters in Gulu have been stationed in a detach set up at Juka Trading Center, some 3 Kilometers North of Apaa Town.

The detach is providing security to the displaced persons in addition to conducting regular patrols in the area.

Abraham Opiro, a resident of Apaa Township says the UPDF soldiers have been helping residents in responding to incidents of attacks by the unknown militiamen operating in the area. He, however, says the soldiers are yet to apprehend members of the militia behind renewed violence in the area.

According to Opiro, the militia started attacking Goro B village on January 17th in which they burnt down 48 huts. He says another attack last week left 18 huts burnt down, 31 cows looted while 5 others were injured. He said the deployment was effected during a visit by Col Bonny Bamweseki, the UPDF 4th Division Commander to the affected areas last week.

When contacted to comment on the deployment, Col. Bonny Bamweseki, the Commander of UPDF 4th Division said he was in a meeting.

Wilson Acuma, the chairperson of Apaa Community Disaster Management Unit says activities of the militiamen are being worsened by uncoordinated evictions of rangers of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). 

Acuma says the Rangers demolished 23 huts in the homes of Kwirino Kilama, George Onen and another identified as Ocii in Acholi Ber Village in Tee Dem Sub Ward on Tuesday morning. He says they also burnt down other stand-alone huts in the village during the same operation.

The dispute comes few weeks after a Presidential Committee negotiating a peaceful end to the conflict concluded its negotiation in Gulu Town.

Earlier, Bashir Hangi, the Communications Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said they were evicting new settlers in the area. He says residents continue to mobilize new settlers to settle in the disputed area.

Over the last seven years, Amuru district local government has been fighting for control of Apaa Township with Adjumani district after the latter gazetted part of the area for establishment of a Wildlife Reserve Hosting Sports hunting Investment.

Two state agencies – the National Forestry Authority-NFA and UWA have since joined the dispute with each claiming ownership as well. The dispute which has claimed many lives has seen many twists and turns including nude protest held before senior government ministers in 2015.

In 2016, Local government Minister Tom Butiime declared the disputed area part of Adjumani district. Amuru district local government has challenged the decision in court.