Recent attacks between the Acholi and Madi community have left at least 21 houses burnt, with scores homeless while others are nursing injuries.
With counter accusations majorly resting on the leadership of the Madi, Adjumani and Amuru district leaders, the UPDF 71st Battalion thinks otherwise saying investigations has pinpointed Adjumani district leaders.
The recent spate of attacks follows the arrest and remand of Stephen Izakare Drani, the Paramount Chief of the Madi and the withdrawal of Major Travers Kibuuka, the 71st Battalion commander, in which Apaa is located.
Observations from community members from both the Acholi and Madi side have noted that ever since Kibuuka was deployed in Apaa for the past close to 1 year, there have been no blood sheds as he normally conducted patrols and engagements with community members along with the Ker Kwaro Acholi, the Acholi cultural institution and Madi cultural institution under the leadership of Rwot David Onen Acana II and Stephen Drani respectively. These engagements follow a 100 million shillings each given to the two cultural institutions by President Museveni in a bid to resolve the longstanding conflict.
Stephen Onzima, a resident of Ngoro West Village in Itirikwa Sub County, Adjumani district says that before the 10th April incident, which saw 14 houses burnt, Apaa area had relatively been under constant peace, especially after president Museveni`s pronouncement over Apaa while in Gulu City.
Onzima attributed the relative peace to the constant community engagement by the army and the cultural leaders, which apparently was interfering with the line of business for some people.
“it looks like some people want to tailor Apaa to be a conflict zone so that they can benefit from the charcoal, logs, and fertile land, and so if people are living in peace, it’s bad”, Onzima said.
Beatrice Amviko, another resident of Ngoro West said that there have been continuous meetings by a section of Madi community to grab land where the Acholi people are living on for sale to commercial charcoal dealers.
Kibuuka, who has been at the helm of security of Apaa for the nearly 1 year said that the reason why the conflict in Apaa will continue persist is because some leaders have hidden selfish interests.
According to Amviko, the attackers upon interrogations claim that they are mobilized by Adjumani leadership including the RDC, LC5, DPC, among others. she noted that in most cases, the perpetrators of the attacks are transported from Yumbe, Moyo among other districts and shown where to grab by the madi community leadership before they are paid off.
She notes that most times when the suspects are arrested, the released immediately and their weapons including bows and arrows are given to them, under the watch of the OC Zoka police, one Francis Yosum.
Following the 10th April arson attack, the Acholi community, some, whose houses were burnt arrested some suspects at around 1:30am and beat the up before being rescued by the UPDF Soldiers and paramount chief of Madi Drani 6:00am, and handed them to police and the OC of Zoka police.
Following a series of articles ran by some online news platforms including daily express, Kibuuka, has sued the daily and Express and its journalist Amacha Goli at the Gulu High Court for defamatory stories written against him, and Madi paramount chief, Stephen Drani.
When contacted for comments, Peter Data Taban, denied that allegations saying he has never had any interest in Apaa. Ben Anyama, the district LCV Chairperson also denied any involvements in organizing attacks.
Our repeated phone calls to Benon Byamukama, the Adjumani district Police Commander were not answered neither where they returned.