Police blocks LoP Aol, MPs from meeting Apaa land victims

Leader of Opposition in the 10th Parliament was on Thursday blocked by security agents from accessing Apaa land on an oversight and fact finding visit.

MP Betty Aol Ocan was leading eleven Opposition members of Parliament on a fact finding mission on the situation of Apaa land including meeting with over 1,000 internally displaced persons living in a camp in Juka area in Apaa.

“Today, with the intention to perform an oversight and fact finding into the root cause of the Apaa land dispute, my team has been blocked from accessing Apaa from the now demarcated boarder between Amuru and Adjumani,” Aol said.

The LoP was leading opposition party legislators including Ayivu MP, Benard Atiku, Chwa West MP, Okin PP Ojara, Kilak North MP, Anthony Akol.

Others include; Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, Amuru Woman MP, Lucy Akello, Aruu North MP, Lucy Aciro Otim, Julius Ochen, Santa Alum Ogwang – Woman MP Oyam district and MP Kapelebyong County among others.

There were huge deployment of filed force police officers (FFP) and army at the contested boundery that was in 2017 marked with stones by Minister of Local Government, Tom Butime, declaring that Apaa belongs to Adjumani local government.

The officers on ground denied the MPs passage and advised the legislators to go and meet their people in Amuru not in Adjumani basing on orders from their higher ranking bosses.

“We are advising you to go and meet the people you want to meet in Amuru but not in Adjumani,” one policeman commanding the deployment told LOP, Aol.

Earlier in a meeting with the legislators, Amuru Resident District Commissioner, Agnes Linda Auma told the MPs that the contentious Apaa land is in Adjumani and not in Amuru.

She then escorted the MPs upto the security checkpoint and left them, advising them to get support from her Adjumani counterpart.

Aol said Apaa land issue is still causing conflicts among the Acholi and Madi people and a lot has to be done to put this issue to calm.

“A lot has to be done to put this issue calm. How do we, the leadership address the fracas when we are being sabotaged from doing our work to help the people?,” Aol wondered.

She also blasted government for masterminding tricky way of robbing people’s lands.

“After corruption, the NRM regime has mastered the trickery of economic sabotage through land grabbing. This will also come to an end,” she added.

In a heated conversation with the security men at the check point laid at the controversial border point, Aol asked fellow MPs to retreat not until they get “visa” from IGP Martin Okoth Ochola to access the suffering people of Apaa.

“Let’s go members, until we get the visa from IGP, we cannot access people whether in Adjumani or Amuru,” LOP Aol shouted to colleagues after the team were blocked at a army and police checkpoints.

President Yoweri Museveni last week during Tarehe Sita celebration in Kitgum, promised to have a second visit to Apaa at the end of February to pass out his last verdict over the issue of Apaa land.

His statement came after Adjumani and Acholi delegation meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda failed to reach consensus over finding a lasting solution over Apaa land issue.

Report states that 18 people have since been killed when the tension begun in Apaa and over 16,000 people have been displaced with  several houses and households, animals destroyed.

Several property have also been looted by the perpetuators who acted politically to support Madi people. However, majority of evictions were done by Uganda Wildlife Authority, UPDF and Uganda Police.

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