One killed, scores injured in refugee clashes

Dec 12, 2019

Fresh fighting broke again on Thursday morning when host community members mounted roadblock cutting off Adjumani Gulu road creating more standoff in Dzaipi trading centre.

UPDF officers at the scene of the clashes in Adjumani Photo By John Unzima

A violent clash involving refugees and local communities in Adjumani has entered day three.

The fight that started on Tuesday has left scores of people injured. A report from the local community says one person has been shot dead by the police and two others injured by the bullets as police and UPDF dispersed the rowdy locals.

The fighting that broke in Nyumanzi Refugee settlement, Dzaipi sub-county, Adjumani district was ignited by the death of a member of the host community on Tuesday in Nyumanzi settlement.

The locals alleged that the refugees killed the youth who was making chapatti in the settlement on Tuesday evening.

The locals escalated the fight by blocking Adjumani Gulu road paralyzing normal business on the road.

By Wednesday, 12 people had been injured as a result of the fight, six were rushed and admitted at Adjumani general hospital in critical condition; six others were rushed and admitted at Nyumanzi Health Centre III.

On Wednesday, Adjumani Resident District Commissioner, Peter Taban Data, said the situation was under control as a security team comprising of Police and Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) were deployed to restore calm.  

"The clash is serious, but we are working round the clock to put the situation in control," Taban told New Vision.

Fresh fights broke on Thursday.
However, fresh fighting broke again on Thursday morning when host community members mounted roadblock cutting off Adjumani Gulu road creating more standoff in Dzaipi trading centre.

Local community members told New Vision that Police officers deployed to disperse the locals shot dead one person on Thursday and left two others injured. When contacted on phone, the RDC Taban confirmed that police shot and injured people, but could not confirm the death case.

The RDC said it was too early to confirm the death. He said locals were pelting the police and UPDF officers with stones provoking the officers to fire bullets. "What I know is somebody was shot and injured in the legs because he was pelting the army and the Police with stones. One army officer was injured and shot with a bow and arrow," Taban said.

Taban said two officers were injured in the clashes, but could not confirm more details promising to compile the details and update the public.

Yang Moses, the Refugee welfare committee II chairman for Nyumanzi said the settlement is in disarray as people in the settlement spent sleepless nights in the bush.

"The situation is calm for now but we are hearing that host communities are mobilizing to come and attack us again," Yang said.

By the time of filing this report, the host community members continued with the protests demanding office of the UNHCR and that of the Prime Minister to relocate the refugees from their land.

Husband and wife shot dead in the Bidibidi refugee settlement.
On Tuesday night November 2, 2019, two refugees all residents of village 15 in Yoyo zone 3 in Bidibidi refugee settlement were shot dead by an unknown person.

The deceased identified as David Taban Duku, 60, a Kuku by tribe and Joan Susan, 30, a Kakwa by tribe were shot dead.

Moses Olang the DPC Yumbe said no suspect has been arrested but investigations continue. He said the bullets retrieved from the deceased bodies are identified to be from South Sudan.

"Some illegal guns exist in the settlements," the DPC said.

Moses Wenger, the refugee welfare council III chairperson for zone 3 says the family of the deceased has been targeted for practicing witchcraft and poison. He added that the communities of the village are living in fear as they do not know the perpetrators.

According to Moses Wenger, a serious night patrol should be carried out in the area for at least a week so as to bring hope in the minds of the refugees.

Lule Baba Moses LC3 chairperson for Kululu sub-county where the settlement is located calls for vigilance and asks refugees to use security authorities to report such crimes.

He said the locals in the area need to cooperate with the refugees and the police for peaceful co-existence. In September this year, a 16-year-old boy was arrested with gun, with 14 bullets in Bidibidi zone 1.

This follows an incidence in which three people were shot in Kochi sub-county, where one Ugandan died and two were seriously injured including a UPDF army officer who had gone to calm the situation.

Richard Andama, the resident district commissioner Yumbe, in a recent interview with Arua One radio, said the border of Uganda and South Sudan is so open that anything can happen easily.

He, however, promised to work hand in hand with the security team of the district to ensure illegal guns in the settlement are recovered and peace prevails.

"Due to freedom of movement for refugees in the country, many refugees leave and come to Uganda at will causing insecurity," the RDC said.

Meanwhile, the Police in Yumbe district arrested Alex Nyori, a refugee from Morodi refugee settlement in Moyo over the murder of a 19-year-old Bodaboda rider.

The body of the boda boda rider was found lying on a road connecting Abiriamajo zone 4 to Yangani zone 5. The body was discovered on Sunday, November 17, 2019.

Andama said the suspect who is now under Police custody in Yumbe had a deal to buy the motorcycle from the deceased.

Ayisuga Rashid, the Vice-Chairperson Yumbe District Boda Boda Association cautions Boda boda riders to be vigilant and to stop riding at night.

Additional reporting by Adams Gule

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