ZOMBO. The Alur king has expressed concern over the ongoing ethnic land conflict between the Lendu and Alur in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
He has implored Ugandan government to intervene to save the thousands of his subjects stranded at the Ugandan border.
The violence wracked areas include, Panduru and Jukoth all in the Mahagi territory, Ituri province where the two ethnic groups have lived for long and also intermarried.
His Highness Phillip Olarker Rauni III said he has received reports of atrocities from his chiefs in the DRC calling for support from the Ugandan government to allow the displaced Alur take refuge in Uganda despite a ban on cross border entries.
The king made the appeal during an exclusive meeting with security agencies held at his palace at Atyak Winam in Atyak Sub County, Zombo district on Monday.
However, Rauni said it is a difficult decision making moment as the country battles COVID-19 and the kingdom is as such compliant to the Presidential directives that among others, banned cross border movements.
He said the kingdom is yet to write to the office of the Prime Minister of Uganda to seek guidance on how the displaced Alur can be saved and where need be where and how they may be resettled.
“I have already tasked the Prime Minister of Alur kingdom to secure a chunk of land where the displaced Alur may be resettled if need be and the responsible partners to help the kingdom manage the situation amidst COVID-19 threats,” he said.
He called for calm and peaceful methods of conflict resolution among the Alur and the Lendu people and added that violence does not help in any way.
The king said the kingdom has not forgotten the suffering of the Alur people in the DRC and that all is being done to resolve the matter in the shortest time possible.
Rt Hon Vincent Ocaya, the Prime Minister Alur kingdom said the kingdom also had a discussion with the security team headed by the Resident District Commissioner-RDC to cause a meeting with the Lendu king Ndrukpa who resides in Aka Sub County, Zombo district.
“We had a meeting with the RDC to forge way forward so that the situation is arrested but at the moment we call for peace”, he said.
Ocaya said some Alur on the Ugandan side were agitating for permission from the kingdom to allow them intervene to help their fellow Alur in the DRC but the kingdom will not allow that happen because the Alur kingdom is for unity and peaceful coexistence.
Mr Kajoyingi Andrew, the Zombo RDC said over 2, 000 people of the Alur ethnic group in the DRC are stranded at the border seeking permission to take refuge in Uganda.
“This is beyond our capacity as the district security committee but we are waiting for communication from Kampala on what to do in such a situation”, he said.
According to Kajoyingi, the Ugandan security team pushed back the fleeing Alur to their land in the DRC as they attempted to cross into the country.
He said they cannot allow in mass influx of people into the country unless permission is sought from Kampala as well as the modalities for resettlement taking account the guideline on COVID-19 prevention.
According to Mr Omara Christopher, the RDC Nebbi, the situation is a looming humanitarian crisis in both Nebbi and Zombo districts after over 200 Congolese fleeing the conflict crossed over to Erussi Sub County via Goli over the weekend.
He however said some of the Congolese returned to the DRC leaving only 6 who are currently living in the community.
“We cannot quarantine those running away from the conflict because we do not have the capacity to feed them but we are monitoring them from where they have taken refuge”, he said.
Similarly, he said there is need to identify land for the establishment of a refugee camp as intervention by refugee agencies to manage the situation comes.