Rage as Acholi leaders rejects 615 square kilometers of land for resettlement

Apaa land saga: Amuru women undressed themselves in anger last year. File photo.

Gulu– Madi community through their representative, Lawrence Akuti  has told government they are ready to offer 615 square kilometers of land to Apaa land victims.

This was announced during a meeting with the Prime Minister of Uganda, Rt. Hon Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda who chaired the meeting held at Gulu State Lodge.

According to Mr Akuti, the vast vacant land is found in East Madi – Adjumani district. He described the land as fit for settlement.

However, most of Acholi team who attended the meeting refuted and refused the offer by their Madi counterpart.

Akol Anthony who’s the Kilak North Member of Parliament denies the offer, advising Madi community to offer it to Uganda Wildlife Authority [UWA].

According to Akol, UWA is too desperate over land, one reason he says prompted the Uganda Wildlife Authority to forcefully evict local people.

“We are telling government to gazette that land for wildlife reserve not for human settlement,” MP Akol told the meeting.

Akol adds that as Acholi leaders they are ready to take other options.

On Thursday, Julius Mucunguzi – Communications Adviser in the Office of the Prime Minister, told press that the Prime Minister will meet the President over the different opinions by both parties which have failed to have a lone consensus.

Without being specific, Mucunguzi adds that the matter would resume in coming weeks.

Dr Ruhakana Rugunda is the chairperson of the committee formed by President Museveni early this month to mediate between Madi and Acholi who are in the contested land in Apaa.

Initially, the President directed that the matter be solved once and for all in three weeks. With Acholi leaders seemingly not convinced with the offer and ways the current dialogue is going, reaching a consensus might take more time.

In July this year, over 200 people stormed UN offices in Gulu over eviction from Apaa land.

The locals, all residents of Apaa village in Labala parish in Amuru district stormed the office of the UN Commission for Human Rights in Gulu over what they termed as violation of their rights following forceful eviction from their land by Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces [UPDF] and Uganda Police.

They resided at the UN compound for more than two weeks before they unanimously agreed to be taken back ‘home’ – this was after government had assured them there would be no more eviction and mistreatment.

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