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60 Namanve Forest Land Encroachers Remanded, 15 Granted Bail

The suspects were among the 500 people who descended on Namanve forest reserve armed with pangas, sticks, and metals and parceled the forest land into small plots. After police dispersing them, 75 were arrested and 95 motorcycles impounded in the process.
08 Oct 2020 15:40
Suspects entering the court room as they relatives look on.

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Mukono Grade I Magistrates Court has granted bail to the 60 people arrested for encroaching on Namanve central forest land and remanded 15 others who have appeared without sureties.

The suspects were among the 500 people who descended on Namanve forest reserve armed with pangas, sticks, and metals and parceled the forest land into small plots.

After police dispersing them, 75 were arrested and 95 motorcycles impounded in the process. 

 

The Grade I Magistrate Stella Okwang has granted to 60 of them a non-cash bail of 300,000 shillings before remanding 15 at Kauga prison for lack of sureties. Each surety has been committed to a non-cash bail of 1million shillings . 

Each suspect is accused on four counts of forcible entry on land contrary to section 77 and 22 of the Penal Code Act. Though they have all pleaded not guilty to the counts.

According to the State Attorney Sarah Challote Kamusiime the suspects forcibly settled on the land between 28 and 30 of September this year. 

Although the contested land is claimed by the National Forestry Authority-NFA, Kamusiime presented before court that it belongs to UIRI Investments limited, Uganda Investment Authority, Luwangula Estates Limited and Robert Kiwalabye. 

She has also noted that all necessary investigations into the matter are complete and the matter is ready for hearing. The magistrate has adjourned it to 26 this month for hearing. 

This week, President Yoweri Museveni directed Lieutenant Colonel Edith Nakalema the Head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit to undertake special investigations in the encroachments taking place on the same contested land of Namanve and Zirimiti central forest reserves both in Mukono district. 

The directive requires Nakalema to establish the ownership status of the land in question, and the extent of damages caused by encroachers. 

The NFA Executive Director Tom Obongo Okello noted that Namanve land is a compartment that was reserved to absorb pollution from the industrial park. However, the same land was partitioned and titles were created by the Ministry of Lands upon court orders.

Currently, there is a heavy security deployment on the land to prevent. The Mukono Resident District Commissioner-RDC Fred Bamwiine says it is intended to stop every kind of trespass until all conflicts on the land are dissolved. 

//Cue in: “This land will…

Cue out: …groups or crooks”//      

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