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Compensation of displaced Apaa residents suffers setback

FILE PHOTO: Apaa residents

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government does not have money to compensate over 300 displaced residents in Apaa.

The communities of Amuru and Adjumani have in the past been disputing over land in Apaa.

The government says the land which is estimated to be 40 square is part of East Madi wildlife reserve.

Cabinet recently announced that it would compensate the Apaa residents with 10 million shillings each, 20 pieces of iron sheets and 20 bags of cement as displacement package.

However, the required 3 billion shillings, part of the money to fund this process has not been budgeted for by government.

The Office of the Prime Minister, states that the 3 billion shillings is part of the 90 billion shillings that is considered under unfunded priorities.

Jessica Ababiku, the Chairperson of the Presidential Affairs committee of Parliament says it is true there is no money, but the committee is looking at getting elsewhere.

She says as a committee they will advise Government to have a supplementary budget for the compensation of the displaced persons. Ababiku says Government cannot displace the people and not have money to compensate them.

She says both people within the forest reserve in Apaa and inside the reserve need to be compensated.

In 2015, Government forcefully planted mark stones in Apaa Village, in the Amuru-Adjumani districts to demarcate boundaries amidst protests from Amuru residents.

Amuru residents claim that the mark stones were planted 31 kilometres inside Amuru district.

More than 21 people were injured when police used live bullets to disperse those opposed to the demarcation exercise.

However, the conflicts between the two communities has been continuous and characterized by attacks of the occupants with machetes and arrows, torching of grass thatched houses, something that has led to the displacement of hundreds of residents of the area.

The community was last year forced to camp at the United Nations base in Gulu seeking help.

Following this, Government set up a committee to investigate the matter, headed by the Prime Minister Ruhakana.

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