RESIDENTS of Ewanga parish, which is at the centre of a border conflict between Arua and Yumbe districts, have vowed to resist a ministerial order placing them under Yumbe.
This comes after local government minister Adolf Mwesige stated in a letter of September 30 that the parish was geographically part of Yumbe.
â€œWe have established that the disputed Ewanga parish, which is part of the proposed Ariwa sub-county and currently part of Odravu sub-county, is geographically part of Yumbe, according to the official maps of Uganda,â€ Mwesige said in the letter addressed to the Yumbe chairperson.
The minister approved the sub-division of Odravu sub-county to create Ariwa sub-county, with one of the parishes, Ewanga, at the centre of the dispute.
The new sub-county becomes effective on July 1, 2010. The residents convened a meeting at Ewanga Market on Thursday.
They accused the minister of taking the decision to split Odravu sub-county without consulting them.
â€œWe are forever part of Arua and if the minister wants to confirm this, let him consult us first,â€ the LC2 chairman, Kassiano Azubu, said.
Ali Taban, an elder, said his father was the first sub-county chief after the departure of colonialists, adding that since then, Ewanga has been part of Arua. â€œWe used to carry out rituals, which are of the Madi and not the Aringa people,â€ he said.
Taban argued that the tribal divide was clear since the lower part of Arua district, comprising Madi Okollo county, is largely inhabited by the Madi, while Yumbe is occupied by the Aringa.
He said the Aringa originally migrated to Ewanga, which borders the Nile, because of famine.
â€œTheir chief followed them here and they became squatters. We have lived harmoniously together, so they shouldnâ€™t use force to grab our land,â€ Tabana said.
The Arua vice-chairman, Kamilo Sabo, urged the residents to remain clam, saying they had petitioned the minister over the matter.
Sabo said Mwesige had promised to hold a consultative meeting with the locals soon.
Meanwhile, over five elders have been lined up to provide a historical background of Ewanga, which they argue is part of Arua district, when the minister visits the area.
Ewanga parish residents oppose relocation to Yumbe