Unexploded ordnances threaten agricultural activities in Amuru.

AMURU – Amuru district leaders and farmers are concerned over the increasing number of unexploded ordnances being unearthed during the ongoing land preparation for planting period.

So far, more than 300 unexploded ordnances have been found in the district in the past 2 months, according to a report from the district security committee.

The report shows that the most affected areas are Pabo, Pogo, Atiak, Lakang and Layima sub-counties.

Christopher Onyango, a farmer and resident of Oguru cell in Pabo Town Council says, people are afraid to fully exploit their energy in tilting especially land in forests for fear of being hit by the unexploded ordnances.

“Last year, a 17-year-old boy lost his leg to a grenade while he was tilting his land in Oguru,” says Onyango.

“In 2019, a boy identified was Kidega lost his feet after he dug and hit a grenade which exploded while he was clearing his land. This has since discouraged many of us from clearing land which has never been used for fear of meeting similar challenges,” Onyango said.

“This has affected our harvest because we are forced to continue using the same pieces of land previously used even when the fertility has degraded,” Onyango noted.

Susan Achiro, another farmer, and resident of Layima says, tractor operators are reluctant to tilt new areas which have never been tilted before for fear of being hit by the ordnances.

Geoffrey Osborne Oceng, the former Amuru Resident District Commissioner (RDC) says this is affecting their efforts to rally people to fully engage in agricultural practices because they fear for their lives.

Recently, the UPDF 4th Division barracks in Gulu has been exploding the ordnances, but Oceng says limited resources have affected their operations.

Oceng was addressing the Minister of State for Defense and Veteran Affairs, Jacob Oboth Oboth during a consultative meeting in Pabo Town Council.

According to Oceng, there’s need for the intervention of the central government and Ministry of defense to provide more resources so that community members are saved from being hit by the ordnances.

“We are busy mobilizing the masses to actively engage in opening their land for the forthcoming planting season, but these efforts have been frustrated by the presence of unexploded ordnances within the communities. In recent times, we were being supported by the UPDF at the 4th division barracks in Gulu which is not enough due to limited resources,” Oceng says.

Jacob Oboth Oboth, the Minister of State for Defense and Veteran Affairs said, the concerns of the farmers and leaders will be addressed by the army headquarters.

Amuru, like many parts of Acholi sub-region was part of the battle fields for more than two-decades between the the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the government forces. As a result, several weapons were planted underground as the war progressed.


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