On top of damaging their property and livestock, the stray bullets have been hitting residents causing permanent injuries and sometimes death. Records from the affected communities show that over 25 people have been affected by fragments from the explosives this year alone.
A section of
residents affected by stray bullets during military drills at the Uganda
Military Academy-Kabamba and Kalama in Mubende District are opposed to the proposed
compulsory acquisition of their land by Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF.
For over ten years, residents of Kakikoba,
Kiwumulo, Kamusongole and Muzirandulu, Ngalama, Kyakasa, Kashenyi, Kubbiri and
Kabbo villages in Kasambya Sub-county have been complaining about stray
On top of
damaging their property and livestock, the stray bullets have been hitting
residents causing permanent injuries and sometimes death.
Records from the
affected communities show that over 25 people have been affected by fragments
from the explosives this year alone.
Two of them
died while five are still nursing wounds.
a resident of Kakikoba, says the explosives used by the soldiers release sharp fragments,
which destroy whatever they come across.
//Cue in: “kati bitandika okukuba…
Cue out…bitandika okutema.”//
Uganda Radio Network has learnt that following numerous
complaints from residents, the army decided to buy them off and compensate them
for the damage caused. The development
was communicated in a recent meeting in Kabamba barracks between resident and
the UPDF land board.
Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, the UDPF Deputy
Spokesperson, confirmed the development noting that the army has been working
around the clock to assess the impact of the problem and lay strategies guaranteeing
the safety of all people neighboring the academy.
He says the
army considered to acquire land within the radius where the stray ammunition lands
as a permanent solution to the problem.
“We have on several occasions engaged
the affected communities and updated them on several solutions suggested. The
army land board is currently working on the matter but this may take some time
since a lot of things must be checked out to ensure transparency,” Akiiki told
Uganda Radio Network.
On the contrary, the affected residents are
opposed to the proposal to sell their land and relocate to other areas far away
from the training ground.
has also learnt that although some residents of Kyakasa and Kashenyi villages mostly
cattle herdsmen have accepted the UPDF proposal for relocation, their counterparts
in Kabbo and Kamusonge parishes have declined.
“The Ministry of Defense should help us and change the target
for their bombs. They should also buy machines, which stops bombs from jumping
their area,” reads a recent letter by the residents of Kabbo and Kamusonge
parish to the Defense Ministry.
Asuman Hamzah Kitakule, the Speaker Kasambya Sub County,
notes that they are not ready to vacate their land where they have lived for
decades with their families.
//Cue in: “Naye banange…
Cue out…over three kilometres.”//
that the villages lived in peace until when the academy was formed in 2007 by
merging the Cadet Officer School that was originally based at Jinja with the
Uganda School of Infantry at Kabamba.
//Cue in: “Kati target bagitunuza…
Cue out…ekijja kijje.”//
Nathan Ssekajja, the Kamusongele LC II chairperson also says
they are not ready to vacate their land, arguing they had a similar problem in
the 1990’s but the commanders agreed to change their targets.
//Cue in: “Kibeera kizibu nnyo…
Cue out…tufune emirembe eno.”//
Aisha Namata, who is still mourning her granddaughter who was
killed by a stray bullet, also says she is unwilling to leave the area.
that many people have been evicted by government in the same manner and ended
“Tetuyina jetulaga wabula…
Cue out…tetuyina habari nabo.”//
However, Akiiki says the resident’s plea to the army to
change the target might not yield the desired results, because the targets were
recommended by technicians.
“Our people should know that some things are
simpler said than done. For the safety of their lives they should accept to
vacate the area,” he said.
However, Brig. Deus Sande, the cantonment commander Uganda
Military Academy -Kabamba, confirms that stray bullets affect communities but
denies accusations of intimidating victims not to speak about the matter.
“Whenever an incident happens, we rush to the scene. Even
last time when one of the residents was affected we airlifted her to Kampala
for treatment,” he revealed.
Article 26 of the 1995 Constitution as amended
provides for the right to own property by an individual or a group.
The law provides
for exceptions under, which a person can compulsorily be deprived of his or her
property specifically land and these include public safety, public order,
morality and for health reasons.