Apaa Residents Petitions President Museveni Over East Madi Wildlife Reserve.

Residents of disputed Apaa Township in Adjumani district have petitioned President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni seeking the degazettement of Juka from a wildlife game reserve.
The petition letter that was signed by 3,347 people was presented to the office of the deputy speaker of parliament in Kampala on Tuesday afternoon by ten selected members of Apaa.
They included, Wilson Acuma the Apaa community chairperson for disaster preparedness, Sylvester Odoki the Acholi Ber LC1 chairperson, Alfred Odoch representing youths and Esther Angee who represented women.
They demand that the Cabinet of Uganda degazette the entire area of Apaa community from Juka River extending southward so that they can permanently live peacefully on their ancestral land.
In the same petition which was seen by Adwarping, the petitioners also claim that turning Apaa into a wildlife reserve took place while they were displaced in camps.
The petition was received and signed by, Robinson Kawesa the Principal Personal Secretary in the Office of Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah on Tuesday 30th April 2019.
Kawesa promised the petitioners that their document will be forwarded to the office of the president through the deputy speaker.
Adwarping interviewed the petitioners from Gulu Town on Wednesday evening after they had just returned from Kampala.
Alfred Odoch said that their stand as people of Apaa is clear that they do not want compensation from government but to continue living peacefully on their land.
Wilson Acuma said the petition was prompted by what he described as rumors about government intention to compensate them for their land so that they can vacate.
Esther Angee said she has no other livelihood because the land is the only source of livelihood for her family who depends on agriculture.
Sylvestre Odoki questioned why government is valuing animal lives over human lives. He revealed that his community members live in fear of attacks and eviction by rangers of Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA.
The move stemmed from Cabinet resolution in February to resettle residents of Apaa with UGX 10 million, 20 iron sheets and 20 bags of cement.
The process would be spearheaded by the Office of the Prime Minister, Land ministry and Minister for Northern Uganda, Grace Kwiyucwiny.
Apaa Township is at the epicentre of violent conflict between UWA and host communities since 2012.
UWA claims that the area is in East Madi Wildlife Reserve and has threatened to evict the dwellers meanwhile the community also says they have ancestral ownership over the land.
By Emmy Daniel Ojara. Gulu.

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