Amuru Leaders Left Grumbling As Government Gives Away Apaa To Adjumani
Tension remains simmering along the Amuru- Adjumani districts after Tom Butiime, the Minister of Local Government on Friday last week handed Apaa to Adjumani district officials.
The handover ceremony took place at Junction Corner in Labala parish, Pabbo Sub County in Amuru District. There was heavy security deployment in the area prior to the handover event.
Minister Butiime who was accompanied by his junior colleague, Minister Jenipher Namuyangu. The ministers said Apaa was now part of Adjumani and not Amuru.
Present at the ceremony was Amuru Resident District Commissioner Bilak Jalmoro, Amuru vice LCV Chairperson, John Bosco Ocan, Kilak North Member of parliament Anthony Akol and his counterpart from Adjumani Angel Mark Dulu. Also present was John Bayo Anyanzo, the Adjumani District Vice Chairperson.
Butiime explained that the government’s decision to give away the disputed land to Adjumani was based on the 1958 map that was drawn before independence.
The minister pointed out that the GPS coordinates had placed Apaa in Adjumani district and that contrary to what some had said, the coordinates of Apaa had not in any way been manipulated to place it in Adjumani.
The Minister warned any politician from Amuru district against campaigning in Apaa saying it will not be tolerated by government.
Further, the Minister instructed the Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs), for both Adjumani and Amuru to respect the decision and work within their new boundaries. He also called on called on religions and cultural leaders to preach peaceful co-existence between the Madi and Acholi.
But the placement of Apaa in Adjumani did not go well with Amuru leaders.
Anthony Akol, MP Kilak North protested the move saying due process had not been followed. The MP said he expected government to investigate the death early this year when several people were killed in Apaa over the disputed land before its ownership is resolved.
Akol added that he will raise his concerns before parliament.
John Bayo Anyanzo, the Adjumani District Vice Chairperson said he was happy with the government decision to finally settle the long running dispute.
Anyanzo told the two ministers that the Acholi on the land will not be victimized stating that the key concern was not ownership of the land but the administrative boundary of the land.
Government has also gone ahead to include Apaa as a village in Adjumani district leaving Amuru with 66 villages instead of the previous 67.
Electoral Commission in Adjumani has also been instructed to hold the November local council elections for Apaa as a village in Adjumani but not Amuru as had been the case.
Since 2012, Apaa has been a hotbed of violent clashes between the Acholi and Madi ethnic groups with each claiming rightful owners of the strip of fertile piece of land that is estimated to be around 44 square miles.
At least 14 local farmers have been killed since 2012 in deadly clashes between the communities.
The latest was in June this year where at least 10 farmer where killed by suspected Madi fighters who were armed with bow and arrow, machetes and spears.