KAMPALA, UGANDA. Over 200 residents of Apaa, Amuru district evicted by security agencies from their land have petitioned the diplomatic missions in Uganda. The victims who have camped at Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Gulu for over one week have now switched their prayer to donors after realizing little support from the human rights agency.
“We have sent letters with our concerns to the embassies of Netherlands, Denmark, United States of America and the European Union to come to our rescue. If our land is not given back and security vacate, donors should cut aid to Uganda,” said Mr Silvester Odoki, the chairman of Apaa Community.
When contacted Mr Awine Bernard, Public Information Officer Communications, OHCHR promised to email back by close of the day.
The victims accuse Uganda Peoples Defense Forces, Uganda Police Force and Uganda Wildlife Authority of forceful eviction that resulted into death and property destroyed.
According to elders, in 1911, the British government drew administrative boundaries between West Nile and Acholi [current day Adjumani and Amuru districts respectively].
The area around Apaa was by then infested by tsetse flies and the communities in the area that owned land communally, part of which were hunting grounds, vacated it for health reasons.
However, in 1963, the Uganda Game Department amended statutory instrument Number 17 and gazetted Kilak a hunting area for licensed gun holders. On March 30, 1972, President Idi Amin’s government issued a decree revoking the hunting grounds status of the area.
This later led to the passing of a resolution in 1973 allowing residents of Apaa to return and occupy their ancestral land. But the 20-year Lord’s Resistance Army war forced many people off this land and they settled in camps.
In 2002, while these people were in camps parliament gazetted the area as a nature reserve to promote tourism north of Murchison Falls National Park. This followed a resolution of the Adjumani local council designating the area for tourism and wildlife conservation.
When the LRA war ended, the new legislation affected the resettlement process as Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) blocked people from returning to the gazetted area.
Today, residents of Apaa parish blame the clashes between the Madi and the Acholi on the government for gazetting the land without consulting the locals. The new demarcations by government have left some leaders from Adjumani claiming that the boundary between Adjumani and Amuru extends about 8kms into Apaa parish from Juka bridge.
FULL LIST OF THE VICTIMS
- Olanya Patrick killed earlier 13/2/2012 by the Police Force
- Okot Alaba died from Adjuman Prison after he was arrested from Apaa
- Onek Joseph shot dead on 18/3/2017 with arrows and bow
- Nyeko Openy Saidi shot dead on 8/6/2017 with arrow and bow
- Kinyera Maurensio Galdino shot dead 7/6/2017 with arrow and bow
- Ojok David shot dead on 7/6/2017 with arrow and bow
- Okello David shot dead on 7/6/2017 with arrow and bow
- Oringa Bosco Okwera shot dead on 7/6/2017 with arrow and bow
- Otto Isaac Okori shot dead 7/6/2017 with arrow and bow
- Olanya Christopher Otopi sho on 6/7/2017 with arrow and bow
- Ocen Ben Lacere shot and died on 6/7/2017 with arrow and bow
- Oling Gileng still missing up to now.