Local leaders of the 14 villages in the 827 Square kilometers of disputed Apaa land have raised a red flag over the continued disappearance of their subjects.

They say at least 15 residents from across different villages have mysterious disappeared while dozens have faced arbitrary arrests by security personnel from Uganda Wildlife Authority, police and the military who terrorize civilians in the contested area.   

Sylvester Odoki, the Local Council Chairperson of Acholiber village disclosed that one young man, identified as Opoka was arrested early October at a place called Dogjuka and has never again been seen. 

Odoki while several other residents are nursing wounds due to beatings, the armed security persons who regularly carry out patrols in the disputed land notes have been looting livestock from the village residents.

According to Apaa Central village chairperson, Wilson Acuma, up to 18 residents have disappeared while others have been arrested in neigbouring Gazi village on trumped up charges and their whereabouts still remain unknown. 

The authorities also say two peasant farmers in Lajalula were rounded up beaten to near death by security officers of Uganda Wildlife Authority – UWA and police backed up by the soldiers and they disappeared for several days.   

Kilak South MP, Gilbert Olanya also expressed disappointment at how people in Apaa are being torment by wildlife rangers, police and the military who act with impunity to continuously terrorize and torture the residents.     

When contacted, Josephine Anguca, the West Nile Region Police Spokesperson could not confirm nor deny the allegations but requested time to liaise with the personnel in Adjumani district to seek clarification before she could respond. 

Dispute over Apaa, now gazetted under East Madi Game Reserve in Adjumani district started in 2012. The contention over the land relate to its ownership, economic land use for settlement or wildlife conservation and geographical boundaries.

Local authorities estimate over 18 people have died since the beginning of the deadly long-drawn-out conflicts between Acholi and Madi communities using rudimentary machetes, bows and arrows thus displacing hundreds of residents. 

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