The UPDF Fourth Infantry Division Army Commander Brig. Bonny Bamwiseki says increased vigilance, patrols, and ambushes will help to trap perpetrators and curb looming violence from occurring.
The Army has committed to maximizing security vigilance, patrols in the disputed Apaa land to avert escalation of tension among the communities of Acholi and Madi.
This comes a week after clashes between the two communities in Ngora Village in Mungula Parish, Adjumani District left two dead and two others with severe injuries. The deceased and victims of the brutal clashes are all from the Madi community.
The UPDF Fourth Infantry Division Commander Brig. Bonny Bamwiseki says increased vigilance, patrols, and ambushes will help to trap perpetrators and curb looming violence from occurring.
Brig. Bamwiseki condemned last week’s attacks saying the perpetrators will be brought to books.
Addressing the Acholi and Mad community separately on Wednesday in Apaa trading centre and Nyabila Trading centre, Brig. Bamwiseki says the army will ensure peace prevails in the area.
He however notes that whereas the army will bolster security, the vast nature of the land still poses a hurdle for deployment and urged locals to be vigilant in areas they move to. Brig. Bamwiseki also urged local leaders and community members on the disputed land to preach peace and unity instead of fanning violence that leads to the loss of lives and grievous harm.
But during the separate meetings, both the Acholi and Madi communities residing in the contentious Apaa area accused UPDF soldiers and police officers of taking sides with criminal groups to influence violence.
Savior Nyandra, a resident of Aliwara village in Mungula Parish alleges that the police and army personnel deployed on the ground only help them when they are given money. He adds that many times the security personnel have been bribed to offer protection to criminals who burn down their huts and destroy crops in the gardens.
Nyandra adds that high-ranking officers in the army and police are currently busy engaging in illegal logging in the Zoka forest and have abandoned their duties of ensuring the safety of the communities from unknown attackers. He says in most cases if they complain about the ills of the security personnel, they are instead threatened or arrested and tortured.
Bosco Oryem, a resident of Apaa trading centre on the other hand also accuses the police and army of taking sides with their counterparts from the Madi community.
Oryem alleges that recently, hundreds of people from the Madi community were forcefully ferried to occupy land in Zoka C village backed by orders from one of the high-ranking army officers.
Oryem also reiterates that security officers are receiving bribes and engaging in illegal logging in the disputed area. He alleges that one of the army officers was in December last year rewarded with two goats for a “job well done” in ensuring occupation of the Madi community in one of the contentious areas.
Brig. Bamwiseki says the matter will be investigated and has since tasked the Fourth Infantry Division Intelligence officer to dig deep into the matter. He however cautioned the two communities to desist from further waging attacks in revenge. Two people have so far been arrested in connection to the recent attacks and are being interrogated at Zoka Police station.
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