SW, Uganda as a whole is considered to be reasonably safe, and pleasant. There are a few problems with bandits on the roads in the north and north west - which is where Arua is situated, but not as bad as some other African nations.
The town is also close to the border with the DRC. Border regions everywhere in the world are a problem, a flashpoint for trouble. More so when the country across the border is a violent and socially troubled place such as the DRC.
Because of the tens of thousands of refugees who have fled DRC and Sudan into the region, Arua is an operational base for many NGO's. This is good and bad; good in that if you run into trouble or require assistance you'll probably find it at one of the many NGO compounds. Bad, because any region suddenly over-run by the demands of thousands of refugees is going to have problems.
Having said that.... it does sound like an amazing place and a fabulous "African" experience. We don't have any travel safety advice for Uganda on worldnomads.com yet (it's coming) but here's a great personal blog from an NGO worker that you may find insightful:
Phil from the safety hub about 8 years ago
Safe is a very subjective term. On the whole, Uganda has a lower crime rate than most African - and indeed European or North American - countries. People travelling here generally find that Ugandans are wonderful hosts who go out of their way to take care of travelers and visitors. That said, it always pays to be conscientious about your surroundings and who you trust. A great number of people travel back and forth to Arua daily without incident. Given the previous conflict in the area there has been a huge amount of money invested in the North and you'll find that the roads relatively good up to the area. Do check out your country's travel advice on their embassy's website and include this in your consideration. If you're passing through Kampala - check out: www.inkampala.com. almost 8 years ago
As long as you travel during the day, with a local driver, you shouldn't encounter any problems. it's always advisable to travel during the day in Uganda, wherever you are. There is no street lighting or road marks, people don't always have their headlights on and may swerve because they're trying to avoid pothole. Or you might find a big black pig in the middle-of-the-road as I did last week - and that was 5 min from the centre of the capital Kampala!
Although you should read the official country advice, this always errs on the cautious and is often out of date to be frank. Try to connect with local people on the ground and find out first-hand what is really going on before you start your travels.
I imagine you're most likely to be going to Arua for work? Trust the advice of your new colleagues.
I haven't visited Arua (yet!) but you might enjoy reading some of my blog, which gives you an insight into Uganda generally: Diary of a Muzungu www.muzungubloguganda.com
Have a great time, I'm sure you'll fall in love with Uganda like every other visitor does! almost 8 years ago