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Mt. Elgon National Park Neighbours Petition Parliament over UWA Killings

The petition follows the recent shooting and killing of a 21-year- old resident of Bumasifwa sub-county identified as John Gimei who had reportedly gone to the park to look for herbs after his wife had given birth.
Residents from four sub-counties in Sironko district neighboring Mountain Elgon National Park have petitioned Parliament seeking its intervention in their ongoing wrangles with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

 

Through their MP Isaias Ssasaga (Budadiri East), the communities of Bugitimwa, Masaba, Zesui and Bumasifwa sub-counties complain that for a long time now, the UWA officials have failed to live in harmony with people neighbouring the Park.

 

MP Ssasaga told Parliament chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga that the UWA officials have persistently killed persons that go near the park in search of herbs, to plant, weed or harvest their crops.

 

The legislator says the petition follows the recent shooting and killing of a 21-year- old resident of Bumasifwa sub-county identified as John Gimei who had reportedly gone to the park to look for herbs after his wife had given birth.

 

He noted that the communities were more angered when the UWA officials again shot at and injured five other people who had gone to rescue the deceased and sustained serious injuries and are still admitted to Mbale regional referral hospital.

 

Ssasaga says the communities now want Parliament to prevail on government to dialogue with UWA officials and the communities so as to cool the standoff which he says has led to the affected community of Bumasifwa to set terms which may cause more disasters if government does not act fast.

 

Among the terms set include not accessing water sources, markets, food, loving girls and women from there, roads and others adding that the UWA officials instead should stay in the forest and government provides them with a chopper to help them or else the communities will revenge.

 

The communities also demand that relatives of those that were killed as a result of UWA activities get compensation from government as soon as possible as well as the injured victims and that government relocates and resettles all the households that were living on the land neighbouring the forest reserve before its elevation as a National Park in 1993.

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