Yumbe District was created in November 2000, curved out of Arua District. It was originally called Aringa County under Arua district. As at February 2018 the district also hosts approximately 300,000 South Sudanese refugees at Bidibidi which has made it the second largest refugee settlement globally, only second to Turkey.
The District is located in North-western Uganda. It is bordered by the Republic of South Sudan in the North, Moyo district in the East, Koboko district in the Northwest and Arua District in the South.
The District is generally flat, although in the eastern part there are several hills, and in the North there are two hills namely Midigo and Kei. Most parts of the district are agriculturally productive except the eastern part of Romogi, Kuru and Odravu sub counties. The District has loamy soil, ideal for tropical agriculture. Gravels are evident in some isolated parts of Kuru, Romogi and Odravu sub counties. While towards the eastern part of the district along the Nile basin is sandy.
Like other districts within the region, majority of the people in Yumbe district still practice subsistence agriculture with the main grown crops cultivated being cassava, beans, sorghum, millet, groundnuts and pumpkins among others. Most of these crops do not undergo post harvest processing but are sold in their natural form. Tobacco is also been grown but has been on the decline over the years as it’s cultivation is being de-campaigned by the government. However, with the advent of a growing number of refugees in the district and rising demand for food, attention has once again shifted to growing of food crops to target both the local and refugee and population.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics figures the district had a total population of 484,822 in 2014 with a projected population of 592,000 in 2018 of which 52.4% are female
The District covers a total area of 2,411sq km (which is 1.2% of the total national area), where 1,929 sq. km (80.01%) of the area is under agriculture, 411.78 sq. km (17.08%) is forestry and woodlands while water bodies and wetlands account for 70.22 sq. km (2.912%).
The district is predominantly comprised of Muslims (77%) followed by Catholics who constitute 14 %, Anglicans 8%, Pentecostals 0.7% and others 0.3%.
Yumbe district is largely inhabited by one major ethnic tribe – the Aringa speaking Lugbara. They have a unified historical origin dating as far back as 1000 A. D. Although in the mid 21st Century, there has been a mix through intermarriages. The majority of the people in Yumbe District are of Sudanic origin (99%) which includes Lugbara, Kuku, Kakwa and Madi. The populations of Aringa ethnicity constitute 93% of the district.
Landmarks/ Historical sites
Agbinika falls in Kochi Sub County offers potential for both development of Hydro electricity generation and water hiking. Kei Mountain and Forest reserve in Kei Sub County is another notable historical site in the district. Lodonga Minor Basilica in Lodonga Sub County is a major tourist attraction in the district where the Catholic faithful from around the world converge every December 8th for pilgrimage. It is the only Basilica in the East and Central Africa.
Current District Leadership
- Mr Yasin Taban – District Chairman
- David Lukuuka – Chief Administrative Officer
- Ms Faridah Charity – Speaker Yumbe District Council
- Mr Asraf Olega – Member of Parliament Aringa County
- Mr Godfrey Onzima – Member of Parliament Aringa North
- Mr Sunday Odria Alioni York – Member of Parliament Aringa South
- Ms Driwaru Zaitun – Yumbe woman Member of Parliament
- Late Sultan Fadelmula Ali Adhu
- Mr Bugason Mike – Pan-African Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Expert, former Political Adviser to the African Union
- Late Maj Gen Ali Bamuze – Former Chairman Uganda National Rescue Front II (UNRF II)
- Late Col Nasur Ezaruku – National Resistance Army Fighter
- Mr Augustine Juruga – Retired Educationist
- Ms Tiperu Nusura – Politician and member East African Parliament
- Mr Yasin Ari – Initiator of the 2002 Peace process between Uganda government and UNRF II rebels
- Mr. Joel Aita – Civil Engineer and Africa Infrastructure Development Consultant
- Ms Joyce Ayikoru – Peace negotiator between government and UNRF II rebels
- Ms Alice Ajedra – Educationist and Proprietor of St Catherine Schools in Yumbe
- Mr Alahai Vuni – Former County Chief of Aringa, Ayivu and Chairman Yumbe district land Commission
- Amin Onzi – former Vice Chair, UNFR1 and Uganda Cabinet Minister
- Robert Taban Adraiga – Proprietor, Premier Hotel and seasoned administrator