UPDF Slammed for Amuru Beatings

An expectant mother claims a group of UPDF soldiers assaulted her, her sister and husband as they returned from receiving antenatal care at Amuru Health centre III.

The military personnel allegedly used excessive force to break up protests by residents on a disputed area between Adjumani and Amuru districts.

According to the expectant mother, Christine Alanyo, the soldiers warned them not to step in the disputed land again, saying it was no longer their home. She said one of the soldiers kicked her belly. She is now worried for her unborn baby.

The disputed 40-square- kilometre piece of land is home to about 1,500 people. The same land has also been claimed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) as a game reserve.

On April 1, a team of UPDF soldiers and police was deployed in Apaa village in Amuru sub-county to evict residents ahead of the demarcation of the boundary between the two districts. However, the residents of Apaa trading centre in Pabbo sub-county, Amuru district staged protests against their impending eviction, leading to clashes with security personnel.

At least 56 people were injured, four of them critically, as soldiers and police used sticks to subdue the protesters. Government will demarcate the land and plant mark stones to pave way for the eviction of residents before handing over the land to Adjumani town council.

Oringa Olego, the LC- I chairperson of Apaa junction, accused the security personnel of beating people indiscriminately with huge sticks. According to Olega, many people spent the night in the bush afraid of being attacked by security forces.

Kilak MP Gilbert Olanya visited some of the affected people at Apaa on April 2 and blasted the military for the attack. Olanya also wondered why government is trying to evict the residents in breach of a temporarily court order issued by Gulu High court judge Wilson Musalu on February 15 2015, staying all activities on the disputed land.

Caesar Olweny, the 4th Division UPDF spokesperson, said in a phone interview that the army leadership has not received any formal complaints on the alleged attack, adding that the army will follow up the matter.

Over the years, numerous meetings have been held between Adjumani and Amuru district officials to resolve the border dispute in vain.

Source : The Observer


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