Madi-Okollo Chairman Pleads with Government to Resolve Border Disputes

Ismail Drabe receiving handover report from Moses Dalili during his inauguration

BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU

MADI-OKOLLO: May 18, 2021.

Ismail Adrisi Drabe said the people in those conflict zones are working and living in fear.

“And the behavior of some of the people especially this Oluba clan thing in Rigbo sub-county is threatening the UNHCR staff. If they leave, we shall lose a lot of resources,” he asserted.

Drabe was delivering his inaugural speech during the swearing-in of the new district council at Madi-Okollo headquarters on Tuesday.

Madi-Okollo district is entangled in border dispute with Vurra county in Arua district and Terego and Yumbe districts.

However the most pronounced of the conflicts has been that with Terego where members of the Oluba clan allege that over 200 square kilometres of their ancestral land has been curved into the new Terego district to settle thousands of refugees in the Rhino Camp settlement straddling the two districts.

On April 19, 2021, the members under the Oluba community development association handed an undated press statement to the police in Arua City raising a litany of complaints against the Office of the Prime Minister responsible for refugees, UNHCR and the Internal Affairs State minister Mario Obiga Kania.

Some of the community members threatened to invoke superstition and curse the refugees and the land they are settled on, with the hope that mysterious deaths would scare the refugees to vacate.

According to a missive from Richard Okullu, the Regional Police Commander for West Nile, a general inquiry file Gef:32/2021 was opened but before the investigations could unveil anything of evidential value, another letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police, Martin’s Okoth Ochola was furnished through the RPC.

The letter dated April 27, 2021 sought for permission to allow the Oluba clan members demonstrate in Arua City against the claimed illegal actions of OPM and UNHCR to settle refugee on those areas, to which Ochola appears to have paid ears that are deaf.

“If the issue is from the parents, let us address it and if it is from us civil servants, let us take responsibility,” chairman Drabe emphasized.

Madi-Okollo Councilors swear in

Pointing out that the issue needs a spirited effort to resolve, Drabe appealed to the government to take the mantle in resolving the border disputes.

He observed that when the Ugandans and Congolese clashed at Vurra customs, the government responded by demarcating the border and erecting pillars to indicate where the borderlines fall.

The chairman was referring to the 2016 exercise in which the government’s of both countries equally contributed to raise sh700m to demarcate just 29 km of their disputed borderline.

“When it comes to the internal conflicts why is it difficult for the government to bring that GPS here?” he inquired.

However our investigation shows that on March 19, 2008 the then Arua district Chief Administrative Officer, Vitalis Oswan under the directives of the district council wrote a letter No:CR/1204/1 to the commissioner of surveys and mapping requesting for a surveyor to establish the location of Odobu market and Quiver Secondary school which were at the centre of the dispute between Rigbo and Terego.

A June 4, 2008 letter No: LAD 14/90/01 signed by M.N. Kajumbula for the Permanent Secretary lands ministry to the Arua CAO and copied to the permanent secretary OPM, permanent secretary local government ministry, Arua RDC and Chairperson among others communicating the result of the survey after elaborating the coordinates concludes as follows.

“According to the administrative boundaries on our base map, the areas fall in Uriama sub county in Maracha-Terego district.”

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