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UPDF refutes claims of laxity in Acholi-Madi tribal clashes in Apaa

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Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has refuted security laxity allegations by Michael Lakony, LCV Chairman of Amuru District.

Lakony claims that security laxity has led to the deaths of over 200 people in Acholi-Madi tribal clashes in Apaa. Over time, there have been ongoing clashes between the Madi and Acholi.

In 2015, the government demarcated the boundary between Amuru and Adjumani amidst protests from the people of Amuru. The leaders of Amuru said that the process only involved people from Adjumani and that the boundary was extended inside Amuru. Since then, the area has witnessed conflicts that have led to deaths, the destruction of properties, and the displacement of people.

According to Capt. Kato Ahmed Hassan, the spokesperson of the fourth division of UPDF, Lakony’s lamentation was baseless and with no clarity, but with the intention to drag the joint forces as parties to the tribal conflict, indicating that the forces support the Madi against the Acholi in Amuru and dismissing the efforts of the forces in ensuring that sanity and calmness prevail in the areas of Amuru and Adjumani.

Last year, the Joint Forces of Uganda Police (FFPU) and the Uganda People’s Defence Forces were deployed in Zoka and Apaa, a small area that was the centre of the conflict. The clashes between the two communities have been greatly minimised due to the massive deployment of our security personnel along their mobility corridors, which both communities could use to cause attacks on each other.

Apparently, the attacks and killings of last year and early this year were registered 30–50 km west of Apaa towards the Nile and 15km north east of Apaa in Pakele sub-county, an area where the Acholi and Madi communities have peacefully lived in existence since the 1970s to date but not Apaa as always reported.

 “The Joint Forces have equally deployed in the general areas of Pakele to help curb the situation, respectively. Apaa itself is safe, although politicians are generalising the entire region of Adjumani to fulfil their selfish interests best known to them,” he said.

He warned the politicians to refrain from negatively influencing and inciting the innocent, peace-loving communities of Acholi and Madi into the bloody clashes. 

Capt. Kato urged both communities to stop the opening of new fields away from our known established defences for their own safety, given the challenging pattern of settlements in the communities where they leave in isolated homes, distant from each other, making it hard to deploy forces for each homestead.

 “We have been conducting patrols and periodic relief of our forces to ensure that security service delivery is not bolstered or compromised for some reason. The Joint Forces have kicked off investigations on prominent known leaders from both communities who have been behind the mobilisation of the violent youths and arming them with bows and arrows to commit violence,” he said.

He said the same leaders have been awarding and illegally selling land in these areas after the expulsion of their occupants from their lands; however, their networks will be dismantled.

 “The joint forces are working hard to apprehend perpetrators and bring them to account. UPDF is committed to cooperating with other security agencies to ensure that the enemies of peace are defeated. We appeal to the community to remain calm,” he said.

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