Opposition Members of Parliament led by their leader Betty Aol Ochan were on Thursday blocked from visiting the disputed Apaa land on the border of Amuru and Adjumani districts.
The legislators were on a tour in Northern Uganda.
Amuru District Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Linda Auma said the MPs were denied access because their request for the visit was sent to wrong parties.
“The letter that we received was addressed to the leadership of Amuru district and Apaa village but the recent border demarcations, places it in Adjumani district,” she said.
“We do not have information that this team will be going to Apaa village. The communication we received was from Amuru and yet Apaa is in Adjumani and the local leaders here are not aware. Kindly use the other route to Adjumani, “Superintendent of Police Seguya Kimera told the legislators.
Ochan expressed disappointment telling the security officers that it was their role as MPs to carry out oversight visits.
“We are MPs from different regions of the country and it’s our duty to visit any region. We want to go and see the situation in Apaa but you are blocking our work.”
Early this month, parliament resolved to institute a select committee to investigate the conflicted land.
The decision was prompted by a statement made by the Minister of state for Internal Affairs Mario Obiga Kania on the continued conflict during a plenary sitting.
“The recent acts of evictions and fights between the communities forced some members of the Acholi community to relocate to makeshift huts within the Zoka ‘C’ area where the security forces have provided them with security,” said Obiga Kania.
He added that in July 2018, President Yoweri Museveni appointed an inter-ministerial committee led by the Prime Minister to take comprehensive efforts to resolve the conflicts and other related issues.
“The committee has made its recommendations to the President and he will make a decision,” said Obiga Kania.
The Minister of State for Veteran Affairs, Bright Rwamirama also re-assured the MPs that the situation in Apaa is calm.
“I was there on 31 January and 01 February 2019 and I addressed the people. The people of Amuru demanded for more security and we urged the people on either side to stay calm until government finds a solution,” said Rwamirama.
However, some MPs from the Acholi region disagreed with the statements from the Ministers, saying that they do not reflect what is happening in Apaa.
Nwoya MP Lilly Adong said that Acholi people are still in camps and suffering.
“I want to also assure the people that it is not the people of Acholi who are in Zoka forest, it is the security forces who are occupying the forest.”
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said that the minister’s statement was not satisfactory. She said there are still areas which need to be investigated.
“We have debated this issue for a long time. Therefore, in this circumstance, we shall set up a select committee to establish the truth,” she said.
In 2015, Government demarcated the boundary between Amuru and Adjumani amidst protests from the people of Amuru. The leaders of Amuru said that the process only involved people from Adjumani, and that the boundary was extended inside Amuru. Since then, the area has witnessed conflicts leading led to deaths, destruction of properties as well as displacement of people.
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