Govt, MPs Give Conflicting Accounts on Apaa Land Conflict

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In short
Government through the State Minister for Housing Chris Baryomunsi gave a chronology of events also putting the number of people killed in the clashes at 8, while in a separate report by Kilak North MP Anthony Akol said the dead are 11.

Government together with legislators from both Amuru and Adjumani districts on Wednesday gave conflicting accounts of the Apaa land conflict.

Government through the State Minister for Housing Chris Baryomunsi gave a chronology of events also putting the number of people killed in the clashes at 8, while in a separate report by Kilak North MP Anthony Akol said the dead are 11.  

The two reports tabled before parliament chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga further conflicted on victims so far admitted in hospital, with Minister Baryomunsi saying 23 had been hospitalised at St Mary's Hospital, Lacor.
 
But MP Akol told parliament that the minister should put the facts right insisting that the victims at Lacor are 21, with seven others admitted at Pabbo and Adjumani Health centres.
 
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State Minister for Primary Health Care, Joyce Moriku, gave yet another figure, putting the number of those admitted at Lacor at 17.
 
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Besides the number of victims admitted being contested, there is still a debate on the number of displaced people. State Minister Baryomunsi told parliament that 4,658 have been displaced with the Acholi being 1,924 while the Madi are 2,734. But MP Akol put the number of the displaced people at 7,000.
 
With all these contradictions, Speaker Kadaga demanded immediate solutions from government to ensure calm among the Acholi and the Madi.
 
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Internal Affairs Minister Jeje Odongo assured parliament that he was on top of the situation, saying that deployments have been made in the affected area and that a number of arrests were to be made.
 
He appealed to the local leaders and area legislators to advocate for peace and urge people to go back to their homes.
 
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Mwesigwa Rukutana, the Deputy Attorney General cautioned that the conflict, if not contained, may escalate. Rukutana also urged leaders against using tribal sentiments while discussing the border conflict.
 
The First deputy Premier Moses Ali who is also entangled in the clashes declined to participate in the debate, only noting that those found liable must face prosecution.
 
He told parliament that he was ready to go to prison if found guilty, but that other people found guilty for inciting violence and causing conflict among the Acholi and Madi communities, should also be ready.

The land conflict pits the Madi in Adjumani district against the Acholi in Amuru district. Just over a week ago, attacks on locals occupying the disputed Apaa land in Zoka village, left six people dead and at least 21 others severely wounded. More than 100 grass-thatched huts were also torched. The attackers, suspected to be from the Madi community, were armed with machetes, spears, bows and arrows.
 

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.