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.
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
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
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
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.