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NFA Struggles to Reclaim Land in Gulu, Amuru Districts

NFA has 98 hectares of land in Pece-Laroo division in Gulu City but 30 hectares of the portion of that located at Holy Rosary Sub Ward has been encroached on and occupied by over 2,000 residents.

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The National Forestry Authority (NFA) is struggling to reclaim over 30 hectares of its land occupied by residents in Gulu City.

NFA has 98 hectares of land in Pece-Laroo Division in Gulu City but 30 hectares of the portion of that located at Holy Rosary Sub Ward has been encroached on and occupied by over 2,000 residents.   

Haruna Busobozi, the NFA Sector Manager for Gulu Area says that the residents sought refuge on the land in the early 2000s due to the insurgency by the Lord`s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group. 

But Haruna says that much as peace has returned and NFA wants the people to vacate the land for its developmental activities, the occupants have instead resisted the demand and started claiming ownership of the land.  

According to Haruna, the population of the occupants is steadily growing with some of them already illegally constructing semi-permanent houses and renting them out. 

He added that in the past years NFA has also met resistance from the occupants and political leaders in Gulu district in their trials to evict the occupants. 

He disclosed that they have again started holding meetings with local leaders in the area as well as political leaders notifying them that by the end of March this year they intend to evict all the occupants. 

//Cue in: ‘’by the end…   

Cue out: …trying to evict.’’//   

Peter Onen Okwera, the Councilor Representing Queen`s Parish where the area is located and also the outgoing Gulu Municipal Council Speaker says that the occupants have nowhere to settle since some of them have been in that area for the last 20 years. 

Last year, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Betty Aol Ocan and the Woman Member of Parliament for Gulu district blocked an attempt to evict the occupants from the forest reserve.

Similarly, over 45 hectares of land belonging to NFA in Labala, Keyo, Wii Ceri, Gwengdiya, Olwal and Got Gweng in Amuru district have been encroached on by more than 5,000 people.   

Equally Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South Member of Parliament and Michael Lakony the Amuru District Chairperson say that the land belongs to the people and not NFA. 

Last year they also blocked an attempt by NFA to plant mark stones on the said land boundaries.

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