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Kibaale Residents Petition Parliament Over Eviction

Residents from four sub counties in Kibaale district have today petitioned parliament over land eviction that has left 1,300 families displaced. The families were last year evicted from the land bordering Kagombe Forest Reserve by the National Forestry Authority NFA claiming they had encroached on the forest.
Philips Bikola displaying injuries sustained during the eviction.

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Residents from four sub counties in Kibaale district have today petitioned parliament over land eviction that has left 1,300 families displaced.

                             

The families were last year evicted from the land bordering Kagombe Forest Reserve by the National Forestry Authority (NFA) claiming they had encroached on the forest.

The affected residents are from the four sub counties of Nyamaranda, Kabasekende, Bubango and Mugarama. They claim their land is located outside the forest reserve which measures about 11,331 hectares.

The lead petitioner, Philips Bikola, narrated to the Speaker of Parliament their ordeal indicating that they had sought redress in the courts and Justice Owiny Dollo in 2014 had issued an injunction restraining the government from carrying out any eviction.

He says that he evictions continued with the assistance of the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) and the police in complete disregard of the court order.

He says six deaths have been recorded so far as result of inhumane treatment and torture by security forces.

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Bikola also named several politicians from Kibaale district including the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija in the land scandal.

He named the former chairman of the district land board Tebyata Birigwa as well as the current chairperson of Kagadi district local council, Steven Nfashingabo, who allegedly own chunks of the land in the area. Minister Kasaija reportedly owns a Eucalyptus tree plantation on the land.

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Speaker Kadaga promised to talk to the relevant authorities including the Inspector General of Police and NFA to resolve the issue.

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In April 2016, NFA officials assisted by UPDF officers camped in Kagombe Central Forest Reserve to supervise the boundary demarcation of the reserve.

 

This, officials argued, was done to stop fresh depletion of the reserve as well as new settlements.

  

Kagombe Forest Reserve was gazetted in 1932 and is one of the 16 forest reserves under Kagadi Sector in Kibaale District.