Fort Patiko – Bakers fort

Fort Patiko was built as a military fort in 1872 and the construction was completed on 25 December 1872. This fort is located 30km away from Gulu town in patiko sub county, Ajulu parish, Aswa County and also the ruins remain in this place. It was later named Baker’s fort who had come as a missionary sent by the queen of England to stop the slave trade which was taking place at this fort.

fort patiko - bakers fort gulu

This fort was initially built by the Arabs as a slave collection center to trade slaves to different countries like Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Somalia which were taken by the Arabs. It was also built for military purpose by Sir Samuel baker using stone materials.

The fort which Sir Samuel Baker took over had the following divisions, industrial area, court yard, prosecution (beheading and firing squad), concrete stores, administration chamber which were instrumental to the Arab slave traders.

There is a plaque in the center of the remaining walls which reads fatiko 1872-1888 founded by Sir Samuel baker and later occupied by Emin pasha and Gordon Charles.

At Fort Patiko one can be able to walk around a 2km pit which is surrounding the fort and it was used as an escape area for the slaves who were mistreated and beaten to death its 16feet depth and 16width, this pit has towering grass, shrubs the cloths can be pitched with black jack, and biting mosquitoes which gives tourist a pinch of walk to oppression on how the slaves endured suffering to make their way out in the pit.

With this walk a tourist will feel a dead silence and imaginations going back to the slave days who were stripped off their clothes to give them a slave identity.

These slaves were trudged thousands of miles from central and East African because they were no defined roads by that time slaves were forced to walk miles through forests and impenetrable forest which were habitats to wild beasts.

A tourist will see 3 roofless doubled roomed houses built with rocks and cement the rooms are not cemented since they were built on a rocky hills and the Arab architects had no use to cement them but can feel a home occupancy in this other wards isolated setting.

By then these 3 roofless rooms were grass thatched with fresh air compared to today’s first class air conditional.

Adjusting to these houses they are two towering rocks which were dug out of caves that were used to house slaves “unlike the slave trader’s houses that are specious and well ventilated”, the caves were dag horizontally inwards than vertically just like coal mine there are 3ft meaning the slaves could get in crawling on their bellies.

The caves were also jammed up because they couldn’t accommodate hundreds of slaves who were held hostage. You can also see the fort floppy compound were slaves used to assemble and the beautiful, health, muscular were separated from the skinny, sick, weak and ugly ones.

The lucky slaves after selection were taken to Egypt and Sudan to the markets and would be sold as merchandise the unlucky ones couldn’t fetch much price on the market so they could be executed by firing squad at the touring chamber.

They were not allowed to set off because the Arabs were scared that they would go and mobilize a community which could come and kill their Arab masters, during the execution trumpets were blown to cheer up the executors after the execution the bodies were not given a decent burial they were thrown into the surrounding pit and vultures could come and finish up from there.

Listening to this story at Fort Patiko your mind can run back to the slave days.
Around the compound you will be able to see the axe slices these axes were used to behead the slaves during the execution, lucky men who stayed were forced to dig more caves for accommodations out of rocks while women were forced to grind tones of millet till their hands bled.

A lot of stories can be told when you’re at fort Patiko these slaves went through a lot which cannot be reversed, until when sir Samuel Baker with his band of Nubian fighters who were able to fight off the Arabs and also stop the slave trade in this area up to 1872 and was able to take over the fort.

However history has it that this fort was surrounded by fig trees and a lot of elephants were feeding on them and their precious tusks were stripped off this alone added more interest in Sir Samuel barker to come so that he could market in ivory.

After Sir Samuel Baker left the fort was then used by Emin pasha and Charles Gordon who served as governors of the Equatorial province by the British protectorate and also turned this place into prison before independence.

Another story which can be told is about a sound of wailing ghosts which are heard in this area around pleading for their lives to be spared although slave trade happened centuries ago.

There other Tourists activities that can be enjoyed, the fort is beautiful from end to end with different sceneries which can be photographed like rocks which slaves used to curve into different creatures such as sharks, map of Africa, Lake Victoria and human heads of slaves who were executed plus antiquities like grinding stones which used by the slave women.

A mark of rosary which was left by sir Samuel Baker’s wife in the compound where she used to pray from every morning. Oyoro’s passage named after a slave who managed to escape by jumping over a deep communication trace.

The fort Patiko was visited by the United Nations Program and the minister of Tourism who made more effort to boost this place into the Tourism sector and now it’s visited by many tourists. This old fort gives one a feed of days in slavery and you can book your tour in this amazing place of history and sceneries.