GULU – Apiriti Market in Madi Opei sub County in Lamwo district remains deserted due to persistent insecurity.
The market worth Ugx35m was constructed in 2015 by the Ministry of Agriculture Animals Industry and Fisheries –MAAIF to boost animal trade between Uganda and South Sudan.
It is situated along the Apiriti-Teretenya-Ikotos road at the borders between Uganda and South Sudan. However, businesses in the market have been on standstill for more than three years after it was operationalized.
Leaders and traders in the area owe this to the persistent armed attacks in the area perpetrated by suspected South Sudanese and Karimojong warriors.
Robert Opira Odit -the Councillor representing Madi Opei Town Council said rustlers attacked traders in the area last week – shooting dead one person before commanding away a herd of cattle.
Opira noted that the incident was just one of the many that are registered in the area often.
For over three years now traders have abandoned the weekly market in Apiriti – shifting to Madi Opei Trading Centre, which is relatively safe.
Opira disclosed that in a move to ensure peace in the area – they are engaging religious and cultural leaders from the two countries through Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu to conduct peace meetings.
The Lamwo RDC, Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, said that the security situation in the area was volatile and had scared away traders – leaving the market idle.
He explained that they have for long engaged South Sudan authorities to beef up security in the area so that the market serves its purpose and improves the people’s livelihoods.
For the South Sudanese part, Joseph Kolong – the Commissioner of Ikotos County State said they had beefed up intelligence in the area to curb the unbecoming armed attacks.