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Acholi Paramount Chief Starts Protest Walk To Disputed Apaa Land

Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II accompanied by legislators and cultural leaders embark on a [protest walk to the disputed Apaa on Saturday.

The Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II has embarked on a protest walk to the disputed Apaa Township over what he describes as continued human rights abuses on residents in the area.

The protest walk comes just a week after four people were killed and four others critically injured by unknown armed assailants in a renewed attack on the disputed land claimed by both Amuru and Adjumani districts.

Rwot Acana who is accompanied by a section of legislators, cultural leaders, and his supporters embarked on the journey in the morning from his palace in Bardge-Layib Division in Gulu City. They intend to cover more than 70 kilometres to reach the people in Apaa Township.

Rwot Acana told journalists at a press briefing that his protest walk is in solidarity with the people of Apaa who have continually been undergoing untold sufferings over the years in the dispute that has spanned for more than a decade.

Acana noted that the cries of the people and of the local leaders in the region haven’t been heard in the past years despite the attacks that have continued arguing that they need the dispute and attacks resolved.

Rwot Acana last week issued an ultimatum to the government to have the matter resolved and urged the security personnel to guarantee the protection of the residents of Apaa as the Judicial Commission of Inquiry embarks on an investigation into the dispute.

“I call for Justice for the people of Apaa even if there is going to be an inquiry and immediate cessation of hostilities to the community of Apaa and warn leaders using underhand methods to wreak havoc of aggression on the people of Apaa to stop forthwith,” he said in a statement issued September 1.

Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya who is also taking part in the protest walk told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that the walk is a demonstration of anger at the government for the continued negligence and silence over the atrocities in Apaa. He says countless attacks that have happened in the disputed have remained uninvestigated with the perpetrators remaining at large to date.

Kitgum Municipality MP Denis Onekalit Ameere says they have accompanied the Paramount Chief of Acholi for the protest walk to mourn for the lost lives. At least 29 people according to statistics from local leaders have so far been killed in Apaa since conflicts kicked off in 2012 during an eviction by Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers that claims the area is a gazette East Madi Wildlife Game Reserve.

Onekalit says they will camp in Apaa Township until the government comes up with a comprehensive remedy to solve the dispute that has turned bloody.

Last week, the President while presiding over a prayer crusade in Gulu City faulted politicians in the region for fueling the conflict in Apaa. He says the colonial map they referred to as one of the moves aimed at understanding the boundary of the land clearly indicated it belonged to the Adjumani district.

President Museveni, however, said the right “medicine” to resolve the land conflict currently is the inquiry that will be conducted by the newly sworn-in Judicial Commission of Inquiry. The Commission headed by the retired Chief Justice Bart Katureebe was sworn in last month by the President.

-URN

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