Global Politics


"For now, no new entrance into Apaa contested areas from both side of Madi and Acholi communities


Tension arose as many ethic’s grouping across the country rust to buy land in Apaa, as both Madi and Acholi neighboring who lives long time ago before National Resistant Army short their way to reign of power

During one day training for African Center for Media Excellent that took place at Northern Uganda Media Cub NUMEC. The Deputy UPDF Spokesperson who ask for anonymous warn the media not to travel to Apaa, because the contested area in under Cavite.   

GULU CITY-THURSDAY September 21, 2023.

The Uganda Military Spokesperson based in Gulu UPDF4th Division argues media Houses affiliated to Northern Uganda Media Club not to go to Apaa without the consent from Gulu UPDF4th Division commander, or Northern Uganda Regional Police Commander, or even the Spokesperson for Aswa west Regional Police force.

“When You go to Apaa and any of our platoon commander get you and killed you, he will give us statement that you are rebells or wrong group, any of you can write to our office so that we can alert our file forces that your present has been sanction.” The UPDF spokesperson warns.

The government of Uganda has declared Apaa no-go areas for communities outside Apaa, government has made heavy deployment, and this followed the attack by the Madi community from West Nile on 30th, August 2023.

Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South MP challenges the status quo

Olanya Gilbert, the Kilak South MP, allegedly says the groups of Aringa, Lubgwara, Kakwa, and Lutugu from South Sudan are being ferried into Apaa contested areas to kill people with impunity.

“We have been informed that there are 3,000 groups of youths who are being trained in Joka Forest in Adjumani, they are being trained how to shoot bow and arrows. “Gilbert Olanya told the Black Star News

However, the Spokesperson for Uganda People’s Defense Forces UPDF, refuted the allegation made by Gilbert Olanya, insisting that the UPDF deployment to stop more attacks from both Madi and Acholi communities.

“Of course UPDF has made heavy deployment in Apaa, just to stop new attack which has been taking place, and at the moment if any members of journalists want to visit Apaa they must seek clarification from Northern Uganda Regional Police Commander of Gulu 4th UPDF Division Commander.” Deputy Spokesperson for UPDF told Northern Uganda Media Club in Gulu.

Mike Lakony, Amuru District Chairman, downplays Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South MP, allegation that there is heavy recruitment by West Nile Youth who are being trained in Joka forest.

“What I know is the situation in Apaa is out of hand, we are on the receiving side, I know that one. But Gilbert Olanya must restrain from uttering political statements, he is just being populist” Mike Lakony warns.

Acholi Leaders decry that the Balaalo cattle keepers, the new invaders have turned the Acholi host community into slavery, as they graze their animals into people’s gardens and duplicate on their vegetable plantations.

“Balaalo has taken over Palaro Sub County, Pogo Sub County, Mede Sub County in Gulu District and Lakang village Palyeci Sub County, Amuru District to the extent that they are washing naked, both man their women in open.

Balaalo, the new alien community who by the end Northern Uganda conflict moved to acquire land for a new settlement, the invaders have targeted the most fertile land.

 They are new groups of people who have forcefully been surveying people’s land by using drones, initially, when they came they have been abating the host community to hire trees and for cutting charcoal, and later they resorted to hiring land for grazing their animals.

The host community entered into a written contract, but later the Balaalo tricked them because those who had been selling land were illiterate.  However, their land was mapped through Global Position System GPS to survey land by drone.”

Acholi leaders explored Museveni’s Presidential Executive order

Walter Okidi Ladwar and Irene Anying the lead Lawyers presenting Acholi Leaders argued with them that although President Museveni shows solidarity through Presidential Order, but Presidential Executive lacks how the implement, therefore it needs to adopt a strategy how to overcome that lacuna.

  The Acholi Leaders meeting called to implement President Museveni’s Executive Order, number 3 June 26, 2023, which read.

“In Executive Order Number 3 issued on May 19, President Museveni banned all Balaalo from Northern Uganda, labeling them as indiscipline and land grabbing. In the order, the President also sought to criminalize nomadism, prescribing a seven-year prison sentence for anyone convicted.”

The leaders although say they have to wait for President Museveni’s extension date line on September 30, 2023, are warry about the future of Acholi.

Betty Larubi, a social woman activist in Gulu City, and a former member of Palara Sub County narrates to the “Black Star News Desk” that the Balaalo now are manic to our community, especially the Palaro society.

How can they turn people’s farms into their grazing areas, and their animals sent into people’s gardens? For us our culture does not allow the close family to have sex with their sibling, not even women and men take birth in the open, boys and girls take birth together while children and older people are gleefully watching their nakedness, Betty Larubi wondered

The worst scenario is, that the Balaalo turn their wrath to caning the Acholi host community the people who sold land to them have become their vendetta.

The queer thing is happening our parents have been persuaded because the newcomer is oozing with money in millions, the cash which they have never seen, mothers have gone to the extent of giving their teenage child, their daughter to Balaalo, the underage children who are as young as 14 years old as a gift to Balaalo cattle keepers, they are now molesting the minor, to them those teenage minor are concubine.

“For us who are not leaders, when we were telling our community not to sell their land or hire their land to the Balaalo, they were castigating and shunning our pieces of advice, now see what is happening, they have been turned into slavery by those aliens whom they have sold or hiring land to them. Who is to blame? Let them cry.” Larubi the former Councilor for Palaro Sub County, lamented.

Kenneth Lubangakene, the political Assistant of the Aswa County MP, Simon Wokorach, for Gulu District says last week during their familiarization visitation to Palaro Sub County.

They rescued one Okot Charles from a residence of Palaro Mede Sub County who was being molested by the Balaalo, there are groups of the Balaalo who claimed to have bought land from Okot’s brother, those men have been subjecting Okot to corporal punishment and this has been on a daily concurrent.

“We confronted one Mulaalo who was torturing Okot, and we asked him why he was torturing this Acholi man, we questioned him, suppose he has lived in this area for five years, how would he be treating members of the community?

And yet they have been in Acholi land last two years, and Mulaalo narrated to them that it’s Okot’s brother who is telling him to torture his brother Okot.

Is good that today as we go for political mobilization in Palaro Sub County, including part of Gulu District, the community who hired their land to the Balaalo whenever they see us, instead of greeting us, tears rolled down their cheek. This means the community has realized how deep and dangerous is.” Lubangakene argued.

During the Acholi Leadership meeting at Bomah Hotel on August 9, 2023, in Gulu City. Acholi leaders learned that most of the Balaalo had bought big acres of land, and some of the generals had fenced their land. For example, Gen. Mugerewa Kavuma has bought 1700 acres of land, and Bitature Patrick has bought 3,000 acres of land in Palaro Sub County. While in the Nwoya district, Raphael Magyezi has bought 2,000 acres of land.   

Anthony Akol, the MP for Kilak North, the current Chairperson of Acholi Parliamentary Groups AGP during his presentation before the Acholi Leaders meeting says during their verification tour fact-finding, in Pabbo Sub County when they went to the area of Pogo village, Labala Village. The community turned wild when they saw them, others started crying, while some of them said instead they had become workers on the land they had sold to the Balaalo

we have found out that the Balaalo have turned against the host community. People are saying those who have bought land from them, have bought “Aibiba” poison that they now regret because the poison has turned on them to destroy their existence, culture, and traditional norms.

 Akol says people are desperate, and they are homeless in their own locality, many claim and ask the MPs to exercise oversee roles.  Many argue that they have become potters to work for the Balaalo because they have nothing to eat or to fend for themselves, we have sold off their land. The Balaalo are now grazing their cattle in people’s gardens.

“During our tour, we have discovered places in most of the areas where even the Balaalo have been elected Area Local Council 1, they are the ones who elected themselves to that position, because their numbers have outnumbered the host community. And to make matter worse, all the trading centers in those areas like Labala, Pogo, Palaro Owalo, Palaro Mede, Lakang village, in all those centers the languages being spoken there are Balaalo languages.” Anthony Akol

Peter Okwera, the former MP for Agago in the 5th Parliament without mincing words, outlined the reason why the Balaalo who is believed to belong to Chwezi density are pushing Acholi, “the Central Luo,” into economic war, by grabbing our land forcefully and mapping our areas by using where there is heavy part of minerals.

“We Are yet not allowed to share meals with the Balaalo who massacred Acholi, how come you break our cultural norm of Camo Ojabu, we must send them out of our land, under the Acholi customary land system no single person can sell customary land. Until we reconcile with them, do they ask forgiveness?” Peter Okwera warns.

Peter Okwera says land grabbers are moving to forcefully take land because they know that Acholi’s physical future is very rich in minerals.

Recently many oil well has been discovered in Agung, at Yona Laconyi Can Amita farm, Atwal farm, Kerobina Uma farm, Erinayo Oryema farm, Gen. Charles Otema farm, and also there are many oil wells in Amuru Lakang, Apaa upto Kidepo valley in Karamoja Sub Region.

 Dr. Irene Anying, Gulu University Don, says she thinks for the moment there need for clarity, and there is continued forceful grabbing of land. But it is clear there is a customary land ownership in place.

We know that the government owns what is beneath the ground, let be a negotiation between the land owners, they should not be exploited, we know that people have been at war for over two decades.

“The law of contract says people have the freedom to sell their land, but there should be equal power when you are dealing with a poor person, there is no equal bargain the sell because poor people have nothing they say, let the government strengthen customary land ownership so that assertion of speculation that oil discovery work in line with landmark ruling of the Constitutional court that says the customary land system cannot be sold.” Dr. Anying argued.


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