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Local Leaders Accuse Unidentified Youths of Clearing Kifungwe Central Forest Reserve

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Henry Kiberu the Bugigi LC I chairperson, says that the youths have declined to reveal the identities of their superiors or provide their contacts.
Henry Kiberu, the Bugigi LCI Chairpeerson and Amos Wambede inspecting part of the cleared land.

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Local leaders in Mpatta Sub County in Mukono district have raised concern over a group of people clearing part of the land belonging to Kifungwe central forest reserve without their consent.  

The land measuring about 40 acres is part of the 200 acres under the National Forestry Authority-NFA. It has been idle for some years following the depletion of the forest cover resulting from illegal charcoal burning and lumbering. More than 100 residents from Sozi and Bugigi villages have been using the contested land to grow food crops such as banana, cassava, potatoes, cabbages, yams, maize and beans.   

   

However, local leaders say a group of unidentified youths have since pitched camp on the land purportedly to plant trees. The leaders say that the youths who are armed with machetes, hoes and clubs have become a security threat because they are also clearing crop gardens belonging to residents. 

Henry Kiberu the Bugigi LC I chairperson, says that the youths have declined to reveal the identities of their superiors or provide their contacts. He says that the group first pretended to be interested in planting trees, but they are instead clearing land to plant ginger, tomatoes and maize. 

//Cue in: “Lukyabukya nolaba...       

Cue out: ...byasanyizidwawo,”//

Amos Wambede, a local councillor in Sozi village, says the decision of the group to slash resident’s crops is likely to fuel food theft. 

 

//Cue in: “Twali lumu ku...       

Cue out: ...byebibira,”//

Florence Nanfuka, a resident of Bugigi village, whose husband is disabled following a motor accident, says that she teamed up with her three children to grow more crops to get school fees and other requirements but they have all been destroyed.    

//Cue in: “Natuuse munimiro...    

Cue out: ...bakasenzewo,”//

Julius Kabugo, another resident says they have severally tried convincing NFA to involve them in the process of restoring the forest by planting trees while using the land for cultivation in vain. He, however, says that they were surprised to see non-residents taking up the land. 

Jacob Kulunya, the Mpatta Sub County LC 3 Vice Chairperson accuses NFA of contracting people with bad intentions of destroying the forest. He says that NFA issues licenses to developers to plant trees but they instead resort to growing crops.  

  

//Cue in: “Kubanga mwalimu...

Cue out: ...abekyalo,”//

Aisha Alibahi, the NFA Spokesperson says that the forestry land in Mpatta was allocated to private developers to grow trees. She says those complaining about the destruction of there are encroachers.  

//Cue in: “Any form of...       

Cue out: ...put them to book”//