Government eviction in Apaa leaves one dead, two injured, properties destroyed

Government eviction in Apaa leaves one dead, two injured, properties destroyed

 Denis Otim

ADJUAMANI/AMURU. One person has been shot dead and  two others sustained injuries as soldiers of Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) forcefully  evicts locals  in the contested Apaa land in Itirikwa Sub county Adjumani district.

The Friday evening  incident  follows  an eviction order issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority(UWA) and  National Forestry Authority(NFA) demanding that 15,000 residents occupying  the  area to vacate or be thrown out forcefully.

Both NFA and UWA alleges that the residents are illegally settled in the Zoka Central Forest Reserve and East Madi wildlife game reserve respectively.

The deceased has been identified as Python Okello 26, while one of the injured was only identified as Okello, all residents of Acholi ber in Labala parish.

 Mr. Patrick Okwonga, uncle to the deceased told Northern Era Website in an interview on Saturday that his son was shot by people who were putting on UPDF uniforms.

"The soldiers came in the morning (Friday 23rd) and begun telling locals to vacate the area. When they reached my son's residence, they used live bullets,”Mr. Okwonga said.

He alleges that over 60 huts have been set ablaze by those carrying the eviction exercise since March 16th,2018

 

 "We are living in fear, our properties and food crops have been destroyed in the eviction operations. We want government to consider us as well. We have suffered enough," Mr. Okwonga said.

Kilak North Member of Parliament Mr. Anthony Akol regretted the incidence in an interview with the Northern Era

He said the attack on the locals came at a time when the matter is still being heard in the Gulu High court adding that it’s a violation of the court.

"It's unfortunate, no one has been told about the eviction, they cannot take orders from people of Adjumani, our issues are still in court and government should have respected it," Mr. Akol said.

 

Efforts to get comments from the Fourth Division Army Commander Brig. Emmanuel Kanyesigye were futile as he would not speak to this reporter.

However, there are reports following a meeting between Brig. Kanyesigye held with Mr. Akol at the Fourth infantry division barracks  on Saturday morning;  the army commander acknowledged sending forces to Apaa to execute the eviction.

Brig. Kanyesigye reportedly said the army were sent following defiance by the locals to vacate the area after the eviction ultimatum elapsed last week.

 

In June last year, ten people were killed, a number sustained severe injuries and several properties destroyed after tribal clashes between the Acholi and the Madi community over Apaa land.

Mid this month, the Gulu High Court Deputy Registrar adjourned to May 22nd this year, a case in which Mr. Akol and five others on behalf of Apaa residents dragged to court the Attorney General, UWA and Adjumani district local government over Apaa land conflicts.

Contention over Apaa land followed government’s forceful demarcation of part of Pabbo Sub County that was in Amuru district as part of Adjumani district.

In 2011, more than 4,000 locals residing in Apaa parish were forcefully evicted and dumped in Pabbo Sub County while several huts and crops were destroyed by UWA officials who claimed the locals were occupying a game reserve.

Government eviction in Apaa leaves one dead, two injured, properties destroyed

 Denis Otim

ADJUAMANI/AMURU. One person has been shot dead and  two others sustained injuries as Uganda People’s Defense Forces’ soldiers (UPDF) forcefully  evicts locals  in the contested Apaa land in Itirikwa Sub county Adjumani district.

The Friday evening  incident  follows  an eviction order issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority(UWA) and  National Forestry Authority(NFA) demanding that 15,000 residents occupying  the  area to vacate or be thrown out forcefully.

Both NFA and UWA alleges that the residents are illegally settled in the Zoka Central Forest Reserve and East Madi wildlife game reserve respectively.

The deceased has been identified as Python Okello 26, while one of the injured was only identified as Okello, all residents of Acholi ber in Labala parish.

 Mr. Patrick Okwonga, uncle to the deceased told Northern Era Website in an interview on Saturday that his son was shot by people who were putting on UPDF uniforms.

"The soldiers came in the morning (Friday 23rd) and begun telling locals to vacate the area. When they reached my son's residence, they used live bullets,”Mr. Okwonga said.

He alleges that over 60 huts have been set ablaze by those carrying the eviction exercise since March 16th,2018

 

 "We are living in fear, our properties and food crops have been destroyed in the eviction operations. We want government to consider us as well. We have suffered enough," Mr. Okwonga said.

Kilak North Member of Parliament Mr. Anthony Akol regretted the incidence in an interview with the Northern Era

He said the attack on the locals came at a time when the matter is still being heard in the Gulu High court adding that it’s a violation of the court.

"It's unfortunate, no one has been told about the eviction, they cannot take orders from people of Adjumani, our issues are still in court and government should have respected it," Mr. Akol said.

 

Efforts to get comments from the Fourth Division Army Commander Brig. Emmanuel Kanyesigye were futile as he would not speak to this reporter.

However, there are reports following a meeting between Brig. Kanyesigye held with Mr. Akol at the Fourth infantry division barracks  on Saturday morning;  the army commander acknowledged sending forces to Apaa to execute the eviction.

Brig. Kanyesigye reportedly said the army were sent following defiance by the locals to vacate the area after the eviction ultimatum elapsed last week.

 

In June last year, ten people were killed, a number sustained severe injuries and several properties destroyed after tribal clashes between the Acholi and the Madi community over Apaa land.

Mid this month, the Gulu High Court Deputy Registrar adjourned to May 22nd this year, a case in which Mr. Akol and five others on behalf of Apaa residents dragged to court the Attorney General, UWA and Adjumani district local government over Apaa land conflicts.

Contention over Apaa land followed government’s forceful demarcation of part of Pabbo Sub County that was in Amuru district as part of Adjumani district.

In 2011, more than 4,000 locals residing in Apaa parish were forcefully evicted and dumped in Pabbo Sub County while several huts and crops were destroyed by UWA officials who claimed the locals were occupying a game reserve.