By John Dibaba. Vendors operating at Arivu market in Arua district are counting losses after fire gutted a section of the market, leaving merchandise estimate close to 200 million shillings destroyed. The fire is believed to have been started by a suspected arsonist who torched a four roomed store at the market. The fire razed items including among others; clothes, gumboots, sewing machines and several sacks of produce. Stephen Alioni, one of the dozens of traders at the market says he lost gumboots and clothes valued over 12 million shillings. “It’s indeed a very hard time for me. I started my business of selling special clothes with a capital of 2,000 shillings. I took 20 years to raise this capital of 12 million shillings which have been destroyed in just one night. I don’t know where to begin from”, he said. Isaac Adule, another vendor says he is stuck with loans that he borrowed from FINCA and wonders how he is going to offset the loans. “My business was surviving on loans that I borrowed from FINCA. I don’t know how to pay it back because it was the profits that I was using to offset the loans. So now you can see how impossible that is going to be. But yes the government needs to help us out of this hard situation because raising my family is also going to another difficult task”, he said. Felix Edema, the LC 3 chairperson Arivu Sub-County appeals to the vendors to get more organized so as to get help following the unfortunate incident. “My kind appeal to my business community is that form an organized group to see that those who had challenges with payment of loans can be helped. I know the loan officers could have been disturbing you and now we have this unfortunate eventuality. Please get registered and have a group. We are here to organize as a Sub County and also the security people to see that we work closely with you to find a way to help you get out of this mess”, he said. Meanwhile, Arua district LC5 chairperson Cosmas Ayikobua has appealed to the disaster committee to rescue the situation. “All what you do have God amidst your plans. But yes the disaster committee should be able to look into this situation and find a way to address this. As a district this is big blow to the business community”, he said.
COVER PHOTO: Part of the market that was razed down in the inferno. Courtesy photo by John Dibaba