MARACHA. The UPDF Special investigation branch from the 4th division headquarters in Gulu have completed the assessment of damages inflicted by the 1991 Ojapi bomb raid by two Sudanese ant-nove bombers in the area.
The officers were on Wednesday at the scene of the attack in Ojapi primary school, Ajira sub-county, Maracha district following the one done by representatives from Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence last year.
The leader of the team, Maj Jonnes Angua who declined to be recorded by the media, told the victims that they will write a report based on their assessment for further decision making.
But another officer, Lt. Col. Wilson Bati Anguani working in Maracha district confirmed that the assessment is necessary to eliminate under or over valuation of the damages.
The chairperson for the victim’s association Mr Philliam Debo Kamure said reaching a lasting agreement with the government is imminent given the consistency and commitment on their side.
“When I went to Mbuya military barracks to meet Veterans and compensation unit officials, I was told we were going to be assessed by the army doctors and this didn’t happen but I am grateful because they have sent another team here. I hope everything is going to be well if there are no more contradictions”, Debo stressed.
He reminded the government to consider other victims from the region once theirs is finalized.
“I stand confident that when our local leaders become proactive, they will compensate people in this region as done in other places, our people who suffered were ignored for 30 years, we are not the only ones, there are those liberation war victims here in Maracha, in Arua city Ombaci massacre victims and 1996 rebel war victims are pending”, Debo said.
On record, the place was bombed on Friday 20th September 1991 at 11:45 am by two Antonov planes suspected to have come from Khartoum.
The planes reportedly released five bombs; three of the bombs landed on the school and church premises and the other two landed in a home on a hill east of the school killing 11-year-old pupil Charles Driwale and Mary Jackson, a pregnant woman on spot.
Isaac Azabo’s leg was amputated after fragments of the bomb hit his leg while Mr Toko Aluma is still living with a fragment in his body.
The then head teacher Mr Jimmy Aluma Kamure noted that the bombs also devastated the environment killing animals and destruction of property.
“Michael Afimani lost 14 sheep, Azabo lost 4 sheep, Solomon Apadra 3 sheep and Charles Yosa lost 4 cows. Six staff houses, a church, 4 church teachers’ houses, four houses belonging to Jackson Sadaraka, 2 houses of Joel Otoma and the school library were also razed down by the bombs in the process”, Kamure enumerated.
He said the impact of the attack would be grave if the teacher on duty failed to control the movement of the pupils when he sensed danger.
The motive of the attack could not be readily established but locals suspect that it could have been a revenge attack due to Uganda’s support to the SPLA rebels by then to gain independence from Khartoum government while others said it could have been a mistake by the pilots.