Friday May 9 2014

Residents held captive over border disputes

By Martin Okudi & Julius Ocungi

More than 100 residents of Adjumani District, majority of them produce dealers, were on Tuesday held captive for more than six hours by Amuru residents in connection to border disputes.

The traders, including an un-identified police officer, were heading to Apaa Market in Pabbo Sub-county in Amuru District, which mainly operates on Tuesday and Friday every week.

Residents also impounded 24 motorcycles along with trucks loaded with merchandise.

Residents of Adjumani and Amuru districts are claiming ownership of Apaa Reserve that officials from Uganda Wildlife Authority maintain is part of East Madi Wildlife Reserve.

Mr Robert Dramwe, the Ofua Sub-county chairperson, confirmed the incident, saying the matter had been resolved after the intervention of Mr Gabriel Amech, the Pachara Sub-county chairperson.

The captives had, according to available information, been asked to each pay a fine of between Shs5,000 and Shs10,000 so as to regain their freedom.

Mr Edmond Muwesigye, the district police commander Amuru District, said he was not aware of the incident, because nobody had made a formal complaint in relation to the unlawful detention.

The Pabbo Sub-county chairperson, Mr Christopher Ojera, apologised to those who were held captive, saying “the manner in which people were treated was unfortunate”.

“We have agreed to convene a meeting to discuss modalities of sensitising the two warring parties about the importance of peaceful co-existence,” he said.

For the past few months, more than 10 residents of Amuru and Adjumani have been arrested by residents in the two districts on allegations of encroachment.
Residents usually hand over the suspects to respective police stations for further interrogation.