Apaa Land Conflict Claims Six Lives and Injures 11 in Recent Attacks – The Ankole Times

Apaa Land Conflict Claims Six Lives and Injures 11 in Recent Attacks

Monday, December 4, 2023

A series of separate attacks occurring between Thursday and Saturday, in which at least six individuals lost their lives, and 11 others sustained severe injuries in the contested Apaa Township, claimed by both Adjumani and Amuru districts. The assailants, whose identities remain unknown, targeted victims in the parishes of Oyanga, Luru, and Acholi Ber in Itirikwa Sub-county, Adjumani district.

Reports from security sources indicate that three of the deceased were from central Uganda, while the other three were local Madi origin farmers. The attackers employed machetes, bows, and arrows during these assaults. The victims were attacked in various locations, with bodies burnt beyond recognition, making identification challenging.

Charles Okoya, the LCI Chairperson of Apaa Township, disclosed that efforts to transport the bodies of the deceased have been hindered due to prevailing insecurities in the area. Additionally, 11 individuals are undergoing medical treatment for severe injuries sustained during the attacks.

Peter Taban Data, the Adjumani Resident District Commissioner, confirmed the incidents and reported that two individuals are still missing. He mentioned that numerous makeshift structures and grass-thatched huts were destroyed by unidentified arsonists in Zoka Central Forest Reserve.

The army has been deployed to enhance security in the affected areas, and an investigation is underway to determine the motives behind the attacks and identify the perpetrators. The situation has prompted fear among the community, leading some to flee their homes in anticipation of retaliation.

State Minister for Northern Uganda Rehabilitation, Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny, emphasized the importance of resolving land conflicts peacefully without resorting to bloodshed. The Fourth Infantry Division Commander, Brig. Michael Kabango, visited the disputed area to assess the situation, meeting with affected persons and local leaders.

These recent attacks add to a history of violence in the Apaa land conflict, with over 30 reported fatalities since 2012. The longstanding dispute, rooted in conflicting land claims, involves the forceful eviction of locals by the government, asserting that the area is a gazetted East Madi Wildlife Reserve and Zoka Central Forest Reserve. Previous attempts to mediate the tension between the Acholi and Madi communities have been unsuccessful. In August, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni commissioned a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, headed by retired Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, to address the Apaa land conflicts, although the commission is yet to commence its work.

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