Zuula: Arua District (Home of Alur, Lugbara, Kakwa and Madi)

At Independence, AruaDistrict was part of the then West Nile District, which consisted of the present day Arua, Nebbi and Yumbe Districts. Under the 1974 Provincial Administration, West Nile District was divided into south Nile, Central Nile and North Nile districts. In 980, North Nile and Central Nile became Arua District, while south Nile was renamed Nebbi District.
It boarders the districts of Yumbe in the north-east, the Albert Nile forms its border with Gulu and Adjumani in the east, Nebbi in the south, Sudan in the north and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the West.

Population of Arua District

The district has over 855,055 people. 75,326 are Males and 409,203 are Females.

Main Languages; Alur, Lugbara, Kakwa and Madi.

Education Services in  Arua District

The district has a total of 343 primary schools with 298 government, 19 private and 26 community schools. For secondary schools, the district has over 16 schools, 72 are government, 12 private and 22 community.

Health services in  Arua District

The district has 22 Government dispensaries (II), 21 health centres (III) at county, 4 health centre (IV) at sub-district and 1 hospital. More so, it has 2 private/NGO dispensaries, 22 clinics, 9 health centres (III) and 2 hospitals.
Government regional referral hospital-Arua Hospital with 278 beds, Kuluva Hospital with 160 beds. Uganda Muslim Medical Bureau-Orijini Hospital with 50 beds.

Transport Network in Arua District

The district has an inadequate road network and the one existing are in poor condition and this ha greatly hampered transportation in the district. It also has an airstrip which facilitates air transport.

Tourist Attractions in Arua District

There is Ajia Game Reserve which was formerly home to white Rhinos hence attracting tourists. The presence of an Aerodrome in Arua makes air transport possible for tourists.


Location of Arua Disrtrict

Arua District is bordered by Yumbe District to the north, Adjumani District to the northeast, Amuru District to the east, Nebbi District to the southeast, Zombo District to the southwest, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the west, and Maracha District to the northwest. The district headquarters at Arua are located about 425 kilometres (264 mi), by road, northwest of Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda. The coordinates of the district are:03 00N, 31 10E.

Overview of Arua District

Arua District got its name from Arua town. In the late 1970s, the Ugandan president at the time Godfrey Binaisa declared that all districts/provinces acquire their names from their regional capital so that is how Arua district inherited the name from Arua town. The district originally included Aringa County, which was later split off to become Yumbe District.

The district is the birthplace of former President Idi Amin. Arua District was a springboard for some units of the Uganda People’s Defense Force who entered the DRC at the beginning of the Second Congo War.

Arua District is a peaceful district save for the disruption caused in the late 1990s by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels on the Karuma-Pakwach road that provides the main road link into the district. In 2005, the northeastern part of the district was split off as the separate, new district of Koboko District.

Arua District has five counties after three of the original six counties were split off. Koboko was granted district status. Maracha was, in 2006, also granted district status, (Maracha District). Initially, Terego County was also included in Maracha District (Maracha-Terego District). However, failing to agree on were the new district headquarters should be located, Terego County opted to remain part of the larger Arua District. The inhabitants of Terego County in Arua District and those of Maracha District, regard themselves as different ethnicities; although the Government of Uganda recognizes them as the Lugbara. The other counties in Arua District are: Vurra, Madi-Okollo and Ayivu; where the Arua District headquarters are located.

Economic activities of Arua District

Located in a corner of the country that borders both South Sudan and the DRC, a significant amount of local economic activity is the result of cross-border trade. Agriculture is the backbone of Arua District’s economy:

Food & cash crops

  • Groundnuts
  • Beans
  • Maize
  • Millet
  • Simsim
  • Mangoes
  • Avocado
  • Cassava
  • Matooke
  • Flowers
  • Tobacco

Domesticated livestock and other fauna

  • African goats
  • Boer goats
  • Hybrid goats
  • Broilers
  • Layers
  • Fish farming
  • Pigs
  • Bee keeping

Due to a high influx of refugees from South Sudan (estimated at 50,000 at one time), the natural environment in the district has been severely stressed, causing deforestation in some areas. The refugee population extensively engages in the growth of tobacco to raise cash for survival thus putting severe pressure on the land.

In 2008 and 2009, honey is steadily replacing tobacco as a leading income stream, with a ready international market. Piggery is also on the increase in the district. The district produces about 30 tons of fish from over 600 private fish farms and from the River Nile. The district has about 117,000 head of local Zebu cattle. However the district milk output remains low.

The biggest asset of the district is perhaps the continued prevalence of peace and security for the last 25 years and denunciation of rebellion which has attracted many developmental projects. Major achievements include infrastructural transformation such as the tarmacking of the Arua to Karuma Highway, the West Nile Rural Electrification Project and numerous telephone communication networks that have been established in the region. During 2013, the tarmacking of the Vurra-Arua-Koboko-Oraba Road began.

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