Aringa people

Aringa people

Aringa people live in the northwestern corner of Uganda, north of Lake Albert. The majority live in the rural areas of Aringa County in Arua District just south of the Sudan border, and to a lesser extent in other areas of West Nile sub-region. They are considered the indigenous people of their lands, which was later settled by so-called "Nubians". [ [ Arua Rural Community Development] ] The speak Aringa language, a Central Sudanic language.

Aringa, like the neighboring Kakwa ethnic group were blamed by other groups in Uganda for doing Idi Amin's "dirty work" in the 1970's. Idi Amin was a Kawka and his vice president Mustafa Adrisi an Aringa. After the Uganda-Tanzania War and the demise of Idi Amin's regime in 1979, Aringa were persecuted by the joint Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) and Tanzania People's Defence Force, leading them to scatter, some to Congo (DRC), some to Sudan, and the rest throughout Uganda. Until they began drifting back to their villages eight or ten years later, Aringa county was almost completely depopulated. [ [ Myrtle Grove Presbyterian Church: Adopt the Aringa People] ] [ ReliefWeb: The Anguish of Northern Uganda - Section 2] ]

When the Tanzanian occupying forces were replaced by UNLA during 1980, the UNLA engaged in brutal reprisals against the local civilian population, who were considered supporters of ex-Amin forces. In late 1980, guerrillas consisting of former Amin forces invaded from southern Sudan and forced some UNLA units out of the West Nile region. They included Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF), based principally among the Aringa people, and the Former Uganda National Army (FUNA), based mainly among the Kakwa. This led the UNLA to engage in further reprisals, large-scale destruction of property and massacres in both Arua and Moyo, leading as many as 500,000 West Nile civilians, including Aringa, to flee to Sudan. Many remained in refugee camps in Sudan until the late 1980's when the National Resistance Army (NRA) took power in Uganda. In 1987, Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) rebels attacked and burned the camps, forcing the refugees to flee back to Uganda.


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