Bunyoro Kingdom Petitions NFA Over Arrest Of Workers

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Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has written to National Forestry Authority (NFA) protesting arrest of workers at the palace construction site in Kaduku central forest reserve, Kiryandongo district.

The three workers, among them one Banana, a tractor operator and his two support staff were arrested on Wednesday by the NFA law enforcement team from Kampala. They were found opening the road into the forest reserve. The road stretch leads to Kaduku Hill where the kingdom plans to establish a palace. The trio was taken to Kaduku police post where they recorded a statement and were later released on bond.

However the grader which belongs to Kinyara Sugar factory is still impounded. The arrest came just a day after NFA accused the kingdom of encroaching on the central forest reserve. The arrest has meanwhile angered the kingdom prompting the Prime Minister, Norman Lukumu to petition the NFA Executive Director Michael Mugisa, protesting the arrest.

In his letter dated July 29, Lukumu describes the arrest as a deliberate move by NFA to embarrass the person of the king and the kingdom as a whole, since the people on site were working under instructions from the king. The arrest came just about an hour after the prime minister had met NFA officials and agreed to dialogue on the Kaduku issue.

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network Lukumu said the kingdom remains hurt by what he calls embarrassing actions of the NFA law enforcers. He says as a show of dissatisfaction, his office is organizing a peaceful demonstration at the site to be led by cabinet on Saturday.

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Lukumu claims that Kaduku Hill is a historical site and is among the restituted kingdom assets.

In a telephone interview, Martin Mwodi, the Range Manager Budongo Systems attributed the incident to miscommunication between his office and the law enforcement team from Kampala. He emphasized however that NFA is still ready to dialogue with the kingdom, although the Kingdom Premier said they cannot dialogue when their people are being arrested.

URN could not readily get a police comment on the matter.