President Yoweri Museveni has reiterated that the best solution and medicine to the decade long conflict over Apaa land claimed by both Amuru and Adjumani districts is the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.
The five-member commission of inquiry led by retired Chief Justice Bert Katurebe were sworn in by President Museveni last month.
The commission is tasked with carrying out investigation and finding a long lasting solution into the conflict that started since 2012.
Speaking to hundreds of believers in Gulu City on Saturday, President Museveni noted that the Commission of inquiry will help to bring out the truth about the land conflict and unearth the perpetrators of violence.
The President was presiding over the closing ceremony of a three-day prayer crusade dubbed “Light Up Acholi land for Jesus” organized by first daughter Patience Rwabwogo also the lead pastor at Covenant Nations Church.
He says whereas they had in the past appointed various individuals to spearhead investigation into Apaa, it didn’t yiled fruits and notes that the Judicial commission of inquiry comprised of judges is now best suited since it has the power of a court.
His remarks followed submission made by the State Minister for Northern Uganda Rehabilitation Grace Freedom Kwiyucwyiny about the recent resurgence of violence in Apaa where four people were killed and four others critically injured by unknown assailants. The deceased were attacked on Wednesday morning at Te-okono village in Apaa Township by a group of hundred men suspected to be Madi tribesmen.
President Museveni in his response noted that those behind the attacks or making trouble over Apaa won’t walk away and promised that they will be found.
He however reiterated that the boundary row had already been resolved with the colonial map which clearly indicated Apaa land is situated inside Adjumani district. The President noted that whereas the disputed land is in Adjumani, anyone can live on it freely
Museveni says the commission members whom he will instruct to start work soon will help substantiate the lies peddled by politicians, verify people who were ferried to occupy the land and those who have been inciting violence.
He notes that the government is in possession of satellite images taken before the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgencies that shows the numbers of households at the time which will be used to verify genuine claimants of the land.
A section of legislators from the Acholi Sub-region under their umbrella body the Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) however condemned the attack and slammed security over negligence.
Anthony Akol, the Kilak North legislator who also doubles as the APG chairperson told journalists at a press briefing that security personnel intentionally refused to intervene despite being alerted by local leaders about incursion of armed locals.
Akol says locals had sighted about 100 men armed with clubs, machetes, bows and arrows who had camped in the area for a week but security failed to respond even when they were informed.
Akol says as APG, they have tabled seven key demands to the government to respond to within two weeks adding that failure to do so will see them boycott parliamentary work to mobilize their locals to protect themselves.
Among the demands tabled include government to heighten security deployment with new commanders, arrest of perpetrators of violence and unconditional release of Apaa residents detained on trumped up charges, and donation of non-food and food relief for affected locals.
Others are the recruitment of ten home guards in each of the 36 parishes in Apaa to galvanize protection of locals, administration of Apaa be taken over by the central government, and demand for degazetment of Apaa.
Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Bardege-Layibi Division Legislator notes that the continued attacks on the people of Apaa is a deliberate move aimed at humiliating the people of Acholi. He says there is no way security personnel can ignore calls by locals about a group of armed men if it wasn’t intentionally arranged and called for immediate investigation to apprehend the perpetrators.
The legislators have also demanded that the government offer compensation to the families of the four people killed in the recent attacks and foot the medical bills of those injured and still admitted at Mungula Health Center IV and St Mary’s Hospital Lacor.
A total of 29 people have so far been killed in clashes over Apaa land and some 300 injured according o statistics from local leaders since 2012.