NORTHERN UGANDA: Security personnel, comprising the police and army, have blocked legislators from Acholi Sub region from accessing the disputed Apaa land.
The legislators were blocked on Thursday afternoon at the disputed Amuru and Adjumani district borders on orders of Benon Byamukama, the Adjumani District Police Commander.
The group led by Anthony Akol, the Kilak North Legislator and Chairperson of the Acholi Parliamentary Group-APG, had intended to visit areas in Apaa that were reportedly attacked early this week by unknown men suspected to be from Adjumani district.
At least seven people were reportedly injured in the attack, and more than 200 grass thatched huts were torched down during the raid, according to local leaders.
Byamukama told Uganda Radio Network-URN in an interview that they blocked the legislators following intelligence reports that they had intended to incite the masses to retaliate for the recent attacks.
He also notes that the legislators had not informed security and leaders in the Adjumani District of their intended visit.
Gilbert Olanya, Kilak South Legislator, however, says they are disappointed in being blocked from accessing their people who are suffering. He criticized security for blocking national leaders while giving refuge to perpetrators carrying out attacks on locals in Apaa.
Akol, on the other hand, says they had intended to visit people who were affected by the recent attacks and assess the situation first-hand for better reporting to the President, with whom they will be meeting over the weekend.
He says they will make another attempt on Friday to visit the affected areas following a briefing they had with security personnel.
However, it took the district security to arrest the suspects behind the attacks since they were known participants of the recent nature walk coordinated by the district.
Preliminary security reports indicate that participants of the recent nature walk that took place inside the Zoka Central Forest could be behind the attacks. The nature walk that attracted participants from Adjumani district to commemorate World Environment Day was organised by the district technical team headed by the district natural resources office.
Byamukama said that they are investigating if the participants in the nature walk inside Zoka Forest have any links to the recent attacks.
According to him, the participants shouldn’t have burnt down the houses but rather reported to security about their findings for further action.
Other legislators who were visiting Apaa include: Christopher Komakech, Aruu County legislator; Santa Okot, Aruu North Mp; Philip Okin Ojara, Chua West legislator; Amos Okot, Ago North Mp; and Nwoya East County Mp Godfrey Okello.
By press time, there was a heavy deployment of both the army and police at the disputed boundary.