Tensions escalate over Napak, Katakwi boundary

On Sunday, angry protestors blocked the main road leading to Moroto in Karamoja at Iriiri trading centre, part of the contested boundary between Napak and Katakwi districts.

This followed efforts by the Ministry of Local Government to settle the long standing dispute involving the Karimojong community in Napak and Iteso community in Katakwi over the boundary.

Army and police personnel patrol the contested area

The Karamajongs in Napak accuse Itesots of encroaching on their territory in Kodike and Alekilek while leaders in Katakwi District were insisting the contested land belongs to the Itesots.

The two communities also had a conflict over the ownership of the border market in Iriiri Sub County in Napak district.

Last week, the Minister for Local Governments Col (Rtd) Tom Butime, guided by the 1962 Constitution and examination of GPS coordinates, declared Kodike and Alekilek to be parts of Katakwi district while the Iriiri market was pronounced to be under Napak district.

Butime and his Junior Jennifer Namuyangu travelled to the contested areas under heavy military and police guard.

Minister Tom Butime (2nd L) listens to Napak leaders

“The surveyors have showed us that the boundary between Napak and Katakwi actually exists. Some leaders and some people were not just sure of where not technically sure of where the boundaries are, but we found it very simple, for example, we have found out that the market you have been fighting for is in Napak district,” Butime told leaders from the two districts.

While his intervention was hoped to solve the problem, it only escalated the tensions, and soon, the matter went to Parliament.

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah had to stand over the matter as Karamoja MPs took on the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Betty Amongi.