UPDF, police implicated in brutality

Amuru.

Uganda People’s Defence Forces and police have been implicated in brutalising residents in Apaa, the disputed border stretch between Adjumani and Amuru districts, as they attempted to evict the locals from the contested piece of land.

On Wednesday, 56 people suffered injuries when soldiers and policemen raided Apaa Trading Centre in Paboo Sub-county, Amuru District, to reopen the disputed border land claimed by both Amuru and Adjumani district administrations.

The attacks come at a time government is finalising moves to erect a mark stone to demarcate the disputed land and evict the residents on it before handing it over to Adjumani Town Council.

The 40-square kilometre land hosts about 1,500 people. It has also been claimed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority as a game reserve.

Ms Christine Alanyo, 20, and a resident of Apaa, told Saturday Monitor that as she returned from an antenatal care visit at Amuru Health Centre III with her sister and husband on Wednesday evening, they were surrounded by UPDF soldiers, who warned them never to cross the land again.

“We were on a motorcycle, and we had reached Apaa junction, when some soldiers stopped us. They told us Apaa is no longer our home, before dragging us on the ground and caning as others kicked us,” she narrated.

Mr Oringa Olego, the Local Council chairperson for Apaa village, said the UPDF and police on Wednesday beat up the residents indiscriminately.

Kilak County MP Gilbert Olanya visited some of the injured persons at Apaa on Thursday. He castigated the UPDF and police for the brutality against civilians.

Mr Olanya said the Gulu High Court judge, Justice Wilson Musalu, issued an injunction on February 15, 2012, which stopped any destruction, confiscation, eviction or interference with the Apaa disputed land until contrary orders from the court are given.

The UPDF 4th Division spokesperson, Capt Caesar Olweny, confirmed that the soldiers had been deployed in Apaa but said the army would investigate the claims of brutality against civilians

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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