Apaa, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Local leaders in Apaa Township on Wednesday chased away Rwot Justin Ocitti Binya, the Chief of Pagak Sub Clan in Lamogi Sub County from discussions over contested land bordering Amuru and Adjumani districts.
Binya had gone to meet the leaders of Oyanga Sub-village in Apaa Township in Oyanga Sub-village in in Amuru district to negotiate for the purchase of chunks of land needed supposedly for the construction of roads in the area to facilitate development.
In attendance were, Wilson Acuma, the Local Council Chairperson for Apaa Township, his secretary, Ferdinand Ojera, Oyanga Parish Chief, John Bosco Ocaya, and Richard Oryem, the Chairperson for Oyanga Sub Village.
Acuma told URN that trouble for Binya and his unidentified associate started when they told the local leaders that they had secured sh12 million to acquire land in the area and they were also willing to construct roads for the community.
The leaders disagreed with Binya`s proposal and advised him to follow the right procedures through the Pabbo Clan leadership to acquire land for agriculture but not permanent ownership, a demand he rejected.
Another source that attended the meeting reveals that Binya`s insistence did not go down well with the leaders who accused him of tricking them to allow him to acquire land for selfish interests or being used by those perpetrating violence in the area.
The infuriated local leaders then ordered Binya and his accomplice out of their offices and asked him never to step foot in Apaa Township lest they face the wrath of the community.
This was the second time the clan leader was visiting the area within less than one week. On Friday last week, Rwot Binya also met the local leaders of Apaa Township and made the same request for land.
When contacted by Uganda Radio Network-URN on Wednesday evening on phone, Rwot Binya confirmed going to Apaa Township and meeting the local leaders as well as pledging to construct roads in the area.
‘’I went on a private visit; I don’t have any interest like you are saying. I went as a witness,’’ Rwot Binya told URN on phone. ‘’The development issue is true,” he added.
He said that he was requested by a colleague said to be his in-law whom he declined to disclose to go and help him negotiate for him to acquire land in the area.
Apaa Township is at the center of a dispute between government agencies like Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and National Forestry Authority (NFA).
Both the Madi communities of Adjumani and Acholi of Amuru districts also claim ownership of the same land. The area has witnessed violent conflicts since 2012 to date leaving at least dozens of people dead and hundreds of properties and livestock destroyed.
Currently, a number of people say that they are spending sleepless nights in the bush for fear of renewed attacks and indiscriminate arrest by the security personnel in the area following a renewed violent conflict.