6 died, 11 injured in Apaa land conflicts

6 died, 11 injured in Apaa land conflicts

6 died, 11 injured in Apaa land conflicts

At least six verified deaths and eleven serious  injuries have resulted from separate  attacks over property disputes in the Adjumani  district’s Apaa township.

Based on the information that is currently available, the attacks took place in the  parishes of Oyanga, Luru, and Acholi Ber in the Itirikwa sub-county, Adjumani district, over the course of three days, from Thursday to Saturday. Security reports state that three of the dead were from central Uganda, and the  other three were local farmers who were originally from Madi. At the time of press, their identities were not easily revealed.

During the various raids, the unidentified attackers used machetes, bows, and  arrows to attack their victims, according to Charles Okoya, the LC I chairperson  of Apaa  township, who made this statement on Sunday.

According to him, one of the attack victims died on Saturday at around 5 p.m. in  Luru parish, with their body being burned beyond recognition, and another victim  died on Friday at around 11 a.m. in Rwot Romo hamlet. According to reports, the fatalities were from unidentified central Ugandan  districts.

He continues by saying that eleven other persons who suffered serious injuries in  the two separate attacks are currently receiving care from a number of hospitals in  the districts of Adjumani and Amuru.

As of publication time, URN was unable to independently confirm the numbers. Two other persons were still unaccounted for, according to Adjuman resident  district commissioner Peter Taban Data, who confirmed the attacks to Uganda.

He says hundreds of makeshift structures and grass-thatched huts have been razed down in the attacks in Zoka Central forest reserve by yet-to-be-identified arsonists. Taban notes that the army has been heavily deployed in the affected areas to beef up security adding that an investigation is ongoing to understand what triggered the attacks and unearth the perpetrators behind the crimes.

Abraham Opira, a resident of Lulai village says the separate attacks have caused panic among community members in the neighbouring villages where the attacks happened adding that many have since fled their homes fearing retaliation. Opira called on the army to beef up the deployment of its personnel to guarantee the safety of lives and properties.

According to local authorities, this puts the total number of individuals killed in  various attacks on the disputed Apaa territory since 2012 to above thirty. The government started evicting residents who were occupying the region with  force in 2012, saying it was a gazetted East Madi Wildlife Reserve under the Uganda  Wildlife Authority’s supervision. This led to conflicts over the Apaa property.

The National Forestry Authority has also  claimed a portion of the area inside the  Adjumani district as the gazetted Zoka  Central Forest Reserve.

Over the years, there have been failed attempts by the government, political,  religious, and traditional authorities to reduce the tension between the Acholi and  Madi  groups.

As a last alternative to resolve the land issues, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni  appointed retired Chief Justice Bart Katureebe to lead the Judicial Commission of  Inquiry into the Apaa land problems in August of this year. However, the commission has not yet begun work on the ground.

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