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Residents Drag NFA to Court Over Evictions in Buvuma :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Residents Drag NFA to Court Over Evictions in Buvuma

More than 1,000 individuals were evicted from land covering up to six villages which formed part of the Forest Reserve that had been encroached on by residents, some of who had erected permanent structures on the land. The eviction was effected by the Uganda People’s Defense Forces in 2014.
Some of the children standing outside the yard of the camps.

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Persons who were evicted from Buvuma Forest Reserve in Buvuma District have dragged the National Forestry Authority-NFA to Court demanding compensation for their properties.

More than 1,000 individuals were evicted from land covering up to six villages which formed part of the Forest Reserve that had been encroached on by residents, some of who had erected permanent structures on the land. The eviction was effected by the Uganda People’s Defense Forces in 2014. 

The affected people were residents of Kitiko, Nandala, Mpolwe, Bukiyindi and Nsese villages at Bugaya Main Island.  But a number of them say that their houses were razed down during the eviction, while others were arrested, tortured and sustained permanent injuries.

The evictees say they tried to reclaim the land in 2018 after establishing from the lands ministry that the contested land belongs to them, but they were blocked by UPDF personnel, who have maintained their presence on the land.     

//Cue in; “Era ffe abantu…  

Cue out…batulemeseza.”// 

Area MP Jennifer Natume Egunyu says that a number of men have abandoned their families as they were threatened with death in their pursuit to regain control over the land.     

//Cue in; “Bolaba wano…  

Cue out…nga ayagadde.”//

With her help, the residents have now dragged the National Forestry Authority to Court. Their lawyer Emmanuel Onyango says that their own conviction is based on a map drawn in 1936 indicating that the contested area was crown land and not a forest reserve as NFA indicated. They further argue that the contested land measuring 47 hectares was registered on December 30, 1936, by Mission of St Joseph Society of Mill Hill under the custodianship of Lugazi Diocese.     

The court has however given them three weeks to enter into negotiations with NFA, for possible mediation. The matter returns to court on October 17, to start hearing their case. 

But the NFA lawyer Jaqueline Namuddu notes that the impending negotiations are not a guarantee that the authority wrongly evicted residents but an opportunity to prove that the residents had encroached on forest land. 

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