Missing Adjumani attack victim found dead

Adjumani | RedPepper Digital- The man who was captured on Wednesday last week by unknown people in Aliwara village, Itirikwa sub-county, Adjumani district has been found dead.

The decomposing body of David Ambayo, 35, was on Monday evening recovered 9 km away from the place where he was captured.

This was after nearly a week of search mounted by locals with the help of security personnel in the area. Ambayo was captured from his garden and later, the attackers hacked three other people who were trying to rescue him, killing one and injuring the other two.

The victims, all residents of Adjumani, were identified as Alex Muroga, 40, who died on spot while Ezakiel Draga, 41 and Adinan Amoku, 43 are still fighting for their lives in Adjumani hospital.

At the time of his captivity and subsequent murder, Ambayo was a member of the Friends of Zoka, a local organization established to protect Zoka forest reserve from illegal loggers.

The deceased also doubles as the biological brother to John Unzima, the documentation and communications Manager of Friends of Zoka who was recently threatened to be dealt with in an audio that went viral on social media.

The audio was leaked on December 31, 2021 but since then, the police of Adjumani district has declined to record Unzima’s statement, forcing him to go into hiding for fear of his life. Unzima was again forced to resurface in Adjumani on Friday after receiving the sad news of his brother’s captivity.

According to William Amanzuru, the team leader of the Friends of Zoka, the attackers plucked off one of Ambayo’s eyes, cut off his nose, speared him in the chest and cut him on the head before abandoning his body deep in the forest.

Amanzuru strongly believes that the attack was masterminded by people behind the plunder of Zoka forest reserve with the aim of frustrating the members of Friends of Zoka from their cause.

“We are not ready to give up! We have left the matter to security to investigate, if the attack is over land as they are alleging, we shall see but if the attackers were used to frustrate us, I am assuring them that we are not ready to give up,” Amanzuru promised.

But Peter Data Taban, the Adjumani Resident District Commissioner (RDC) who also doubles as the district security committee chairperson said their preliminary investigations indicate that the attackers were people from Amuru whose interest is to grab Ngoro land which is in Adjumani district.

“A group of Acholis went and attacked some Madis who were in their field working. In the fight, three Madi people were injured and as they tried to rush them to hospital for treatment, Muroga Alex was pronounced dead. While in the process of the attack, David Ambayo tried to run for his life unfortunately, up to now he is not yet found. As the security personnel and the people went on search on Thursday, they only found his jacket and the cap but the body is not yet found, so the search continues,” Taban said in an earlier interview with this reporter.

He added that in the process, three houses belonging to the Madis were torched and after analyses, they (security) concluded that the whole fight is just due to land grabbing as both parties claim that Ngoro land belongs to them.

“I can’t say right now that the people hacked are part of the Friends of Zoka but what I know is they are Madis from Adjumani and they were attacked from their garden, so we can’t segregate and say they are Friends of Zoka,” Taban stressed.

The RDC appealed to the people of Adjumani not to revenge but observe peace as the government finds a lasting solution to the problem.

“We know where the contested place is and that is Ngoro, we know where the problem is and we also have suspects because at least these two people who are seriously injured can still talk and incidentally, they were all staying in Zoka. So, they know who came for this attack and killed, and that is what we want to be investigated,” said Ben Anyama, the Adjumani district chairperson.

Meanwhile James Mamawi, the area Adjumani East MP claimed that he has reliable information indicating that there is a man only identified as Kinyara who is spearheading the attacks on his people. Mamawi asked security to pick interest in investigating Kinyara if calm is to be restored in the area.

In May last year, similar attacks occurred in the same area and at least one person, also a resident of Adjumani district was killed in the process.

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