Global Politics


Same story appeared in Black Star News based in New York City

Betty Aol Ocan, Gulu Women MP, standing talking to Betty Ocwee, Palaro Sub County Si=ocial activist facing in human tortore In Burcoro, formerly National Resistance Army former President Museveni genocide massacre grave where hundreds of civilians were buried alive

The Chief of Palaro, Patrick Adonia Abwoc finally stood tall on Tuesday, November 22, 2023, and summoned all his subjects for the common goal, with one mission, “Balaalo must go!” and addressed a mammoth crowd that later engaged in cutting down Balaalo fences.
The Balaalo are a nomadic group of cattle keepers from as far as Tanzania, Rwanda and Western Uganda who have since invaded Acholi sub-region with their cattle and are known for their wealth that they use to induce the locals to allow them grazing rights. Having settled, they do not respect boundaries and use their arrogance and weapons to intimidate the locals and graze their animals on the locals’ crops. President Museveni has since ordered those who have not fenced their land to vacate Acholi land, but they buy off some locals who suddenly pretend that the Balaalo cattle belong to them. Deadline for the Balaalo who have not yet fenced their land to leave Acholiland was November 25 but none of them have apparently left. They have continued to ferry chain links and barbed wires to fence land beyond the deadline and in some parts quarantine have been slapped on cattle travels apparently to give the Balaalo more time to stay on.
Cheief Abwoc of  Palaro, who directed his subjects to move and dismantle all the Balallo fence wires, in authoritative tune says the purported land sales and hiring are null and void since the land belongs to the clans and individuals who gave away land to the Balaalo did not seek consent from their clans.
“Go and destroy all illegal fences, because the individuals who are alleged to sell their land did it without clan leaders’ consent including my own consent as Chief of the Palaro,” Rwot Abwoc reiterates.
Betty Ocwee, 38 years old, a front runner of Acholi mission to kick Balaalo out of Acholiland under the slogan, “Balaalo must go” led a group of youths to dismantle the Balaalo fences in Palaro Mede Sub-County, one of the Balaalo havens.
Ocwee and her team were arrested while on their way back to Gulu City. They entered in a UPDF ambush that was erected to arrest them. They were taken to Awal Aboro, Palaro Lugore UPDF barrack from where they were transferred to Gulu UPDF 4th Division and dumped in a military cell.
Other youth were arrested and confined at Burcoro Police cell. 27-year-old Opwonya Ronald, one of the arrested victims informed Black Star News Correspondent while at Burcoro Police cell that when Palaro chief was addressing his subjects, the Balaalo were not in attendance only for some of them to emerge at the roadblocks, all armed and donning army uniforms to effect their arrests.”We told you that even if you go and report us to the police station, or UPDF officers you will get us there. “Are you now not in our hands,” the Balaalo-turned soldiers taunted them.
Opwonya and three others were later allowed to be seen by Uganda Legislators Betty Aol Ocan, the Women MP for Gulu City, and Amos Okot, the Agago North MP outside the police cell at Burcoro. Others arrested along with Opwonya included Onencan Andrew, 18 years old,  Okello Francis, 32 years old, and Alila Martin 32 years old. They narrated that they were first arrested and taken to Awal Aboro UPDF barracks in Palaro Lugore before being transferred to Burcoro. Betty Ocwee is meanwhile locked up in a female cell, and Black Star managed to take her picture.
Burcoro is a renown massacre site of 1987 where hundreds of civilians were arraigned, piled over each other and buried alive. It is now turned into a Uganda Police Station and to the Acholi, it still stands as a gruesome reminder of the massacre.
In a separate development, Betty Aol, the Women MP for Gulu City at around 11.30 a.m. stormed Northern Uganda Media Club, NUMEC. with her counterpart Okot Amos, the Agago North MP and condemned the arrests of the groups of “Balaalo must go!” advocates. “We the MPs from Acholi Sub Region condemn the brutal arrest of the civilians.”
Okot Amos, the MP for Agago North equally castigated UPDF officers for carrying out the arrest, saying the order to arrest the locals must have come from Lt. Gen. Charles Otema Awany, a renown pro-Balaalo must stay.
Lt. Gen. Otema Awany downplayed the accusation, saying he does not condone impunity, and that he has learned about the arrests from the Social Media. “I disassociate myself from the accusation leveled against me, those are unfounded baseless accusations.” Gen. Otema said.
Meanwhile Opiyo Ateker, Chairman Gulu District Local Government, two months ago told President Museveni that they are living peacefully with the Balaalo cattle keepers in Palaro chiefdom.



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