Five people have been arrested following a violent protest at Maruzi Ranch in Apac District.
Those arrested included Mr Alex Okello, 35, Mr Jackson Omara, 28, Mr Yakobo Okao, 18, Mr Calvin Opeto, 32, and Ocen Odugu, 49. The suspects were reportedly taken to an army detach at Acholi-inn Landing Site in Akokoro Sub-county.
The district speaker, Mr Peter Obong Acuda, told Daily Monitor on Sunday that those arrested were engaged in a fist fight as they attempted to resist the ongoing eviction being spearheaded by security agencies.
This newspaper has learnt that misunderstandings between the locals and district leaders cropped up soon after the latter entered into a memorandum of understanding with an Asian firm to develop the area.
Mr Obong confirmed that the government then started clearing the site to pave way for such an ambitious project. The locals who have been occupying the ranch after they fled the prolonged conflict in northern Uganda were given ample time to harvest their crops and vacate the land.
The government also promised to give each of them Shs400, 000 as transport facilitation to allow relocation, the district speaker added.
However, majority benefited from the money but a few rejected the offer and opted to protest against the eviction.
On January 10, some people allegedly attacked those who had shown willingness to vacate the ranch. They said those who pocketed the money betrayed them.
The police intervened but they were overpowered by the rowdy locals, Mr Obong explained. This prompted the police to ask for reinforcement, leading to the deployment of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers. It was at this point that five people suspected of leading the protest against the “peaceful” eviction were apprehended, he added.
Mr Denish Hamson Okello, an eyewitness, told Daily Monitor that soldiers fired teargas and live bullets to disperse more than 200 locals who had staged a protest at the ranch.
“We rejected Shs400, 000 resettlement package the UPDF soldiers were giving out to persuade us to vacate the land and some of our friends were arrested. Most of us were born in this area and we have nowhere to go. So, government should first fully compensate us before any eviction,” Mr Okello said.
Mr Charles Ogang, an elder in the area said the 64 Square miles of land was occupied by the clans of Ongoda, Oyima and Ogora in 1964 before it was given to the government for the establishment of the present Maruzi ranch.
But the district speaker, who is also a representative of Akororo Sub-county in which the government ranch also sits on its part of the land, maintained the ranch belongs to government.
The head of the security in the district, Ms Beatrice Akello, who is also the Resident District Commissioner, claimed she did not know of the arrests made but acknowledged that the eviction kicked off last December.
Capt C.O Wacha, the operation commander at the ranch, declined to comment on the matter.
“You can call our public relations officer, I think he can brief you on the matter,” he said on phone on Monday.
However, when contacted, the UPDF 5 Division spokesperson, Capt Lawrence Draga, said: “I have not got any information and Capt Wacha is the one on ground.”
The north Kyoga regional police spokesperson, Mr David Ongom Mudong, said their officers in Apac had not briefed him about any arrest in Maruzi ranch.
A self-claimed landlord who caused the imprisonment of six community land rights defenders on false charges was aligned before the court and charged with 28 counts.
By Witness Radio Team
A magistrate court at Mubende has charged a self-claimed landlord with 28 counts plus murder. Naava Milly Namutebi caused the arrest of six community land rights defenders, falsely accused them of murder, and got imprisoned for three years without trial.
Naava’s appearance before the court followed shortly after the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) dropped murder charges against six community land rights defenders. These include; Tumusiime Benjamin, Bagirana Innocent, Habana Domoro, Miyingo Gerald, Byangaramani Charles, and Byekwaso Fred.
Naava was charged along with Bulasio Musoke, Richard Mugagga, Henry Kaaya, among others. They were not allowed to answer any charges as the court had no power to make legal decisions and judgments on charges read to them.
The prosecution alleges that Naava and others still at large, committed offenses in areas of Mubende and Kampala districts between 2006 and 2021.
From 2012 to date, Naava got help from the senior army, police, and other public officers in Mubende orchestrated violence and committed human rights violations/abuses while forcefully evicting over 4,000 people off their land.
The land being targeted measures 3.5 square miles covering villages including Kirwanyi central, Kirwanyi East, Kirwanyi West, Nakasagazi, Kituule A, Kituule B, Kibalagazi A, Kibalagazi B, Kakkanembe, Bukyambuzi A, Bukyambuzi B, Kisende, Mulanda, Kituule central, Kirwanyi A, and Butayunja in Kirwanyi and Kituule parishes in Butoloogo Sub County in Mubende district.
Naava and others accused were remanded to Kaweeri prison until 19th/July/2022.
Six community land rights defenders from Kawaala have turned up at police for interrogations but, failed to take off
By Witness Radio Team.
The six community land rights defenders from Kawaala zone II and the local leader that were summoned to appear at the Old Kampala Regional Police Headquarters have turned up, however, the interrogations did not take off due to the absence of the head of investigating team.
The six community defenders were required to report back to police for further investigations into alleged crimes that have not yet been officially disclosed to defenders’ lawyers. They were supposed to appear before the police investigation team today the 06th of July 2022 at 10:00 AM.
The defenders include; Kasozi Paul, Busobolwa Adam, Kabugo Micheal, Serugo Charles, Ssemanda David, Sserukwaya David, and the area vice-chairman Patrick Kato Lubwama.
While appearing before police for the first time last week on Wednesday 29th, the Deputy Assistant Inspector of Police (D/AIP) Domara Patrick who heads the investigations team casually said the defenders and the local leader are being investigated for obtaining money by pretense and forgery, which charges are not mentioned on police summons.
Since the first COVID outbreak in 2020, the victim defenders and others have been leading a pushback campaign to stop forced eviction by a multimillion dollars Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP-2) being implemented by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). The drainage channel construction is financed by the World Bank.
This project first impacted Kawaala Zone II around 2014, when a channel diversion was constructed. The current planned expansion will widen that channel and require forced evictions across an area at least 70 meters wide and 2.5 km long.
Witness Radio – Uganda has established that the Deputy Resident City Commissioner (RCC) in charge of Rubaga Division, Mr. Anderson Burora is among the complainants. Resident City Commissioner is a representative of the president in the Capital City at the division level.
Witness Radio – Uganda believes that police are being used to harass and intimidate defenders to back off the justice campaign for people negatively impacted by the drainage channel.
The defenders and the local council leader have been booked to report back to the police on Monday, the 11th of July 2022 at 9:00 AM local time.
A self-claimed landlord who masterminded the imprisonment of six community land rights defenders for three years has been arrested.
Naava being arrested by police.
By Witness Radio team.
A joint team of investigators from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from Kampala and the Mubende police arrested a self-claimed landlord who falsely accused six community land rights defenders of murder and led to a three years imprisonment without trial.
Naava Milly Namutebi was arrested at her farm in Kirwanyi in Mubende district with other alleged land dealers namely Bulasio Musoke, Richard Mugagga, and Henry Kaaya.
Naava’s arrest occurred a few days after the DPP dropped charges of murder against six community land rights defenders who had spent three years without trial. These include Tumusiime Benjamin, Bagirana Innocent, Habana Domoro, Miyingo Gerald, Byangaramani Charles, and Byekwaso Fred.
Since 2012, Naava with the help of senior army, police, and other public officers in Mubende have orchestrated violence and committed human rights violations/abuses against over 4,000 people to evict them off their land. The land is measuring 3.5 square miles covering villages namely Kirwanyi central, Kirwanyi East, Kirwanyi West, Nakasagazi, Kituule A, Kituule B, Kibalagazi A, Kibalagazi B, Kakkanembe, Bukyambuzi A, Bukyambuzi B, Kisende, Mulanda, Kituule central, Kirwanyi A, and Butayunja in Kirwanyi and Kituule parishes in Butoloogo Sub County in Mubende district.
According to locals, Mubende police acting on Naava’s orders arbitrarily arrested and unlawfully detained dozens and dozens of land owners at different police stations in the district. Several victims allege they had to pay colossal sums of money to be released.
For many years, Mubende district has been one of the forced eviction hotspots where families are forced off their land with compensation or being offered settlement. Witness Radio’s one-year research report released in 2017 revealed that over 60% of the total grabbed land in the district was stollen by local investors.
Witness Radio – Uganda research indicates that Naava is involved in multiple land grabs with the help of government security apparatus. In 2017, residents namely Ruhobana Dombo, Samuel Ndekezi, and Chleopus Zariwa from the Butoloogo sub-county in Mubende district were arbitrarily arrested and detained on Naava’s orders by Mubende police.
The victims and other residents lawfully occupied and cultivated their land for decades but got shocked to hear that Naava was claiming ownership of their land.
The trio had gone to their gardens to plant maize on August 17, 2017, when Naava’s stick-wielding laborers attacked and severely beat them.
Naava is currently held at Mubende Central Police Station, with 28 charges including murder, attempted murder, forgery, and others preferred against her.
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