AMURU/ADJUMANI- Ms Margaret Aculu, 35, emerges with her baby from a makeshift structure looking frightened as she welcomes me to what she calls home in Luru B Village, Apaa Parish.
The disputed piece of land is claimed by both Amuru and Adjumani districts.
She had sought refuge at this structure with her baby for the last one week after her two huts were allegedly burnt down by a group of Uganda People’s Defence Forces Soldiers (UPDF).
According to Ms Aculu, all was well until on May 1, when armed men wearing UPDF uniforms found her in the garden and demanded that she stops whatever she was doing.
“The soldiers asked me to stop farming in the area because it belongs to animals. They told me they were sent by Uganda Wildlife Authority to make sure that we leave the area or else we would be beaten,” Ms Aculu said.
Ms Aculu said the soldiers later took her photograph, gathered some of her properties which were in the compound and threw them into her two huts before setting them ablaze while assuring her never to settle in the area again.
“I fled the area for my dear life, I hid in a bush until night time when I returned and slept in one of the ruins of the burnt hut. I have nothing left with me at the moment, all my belongings and food crops have been destroyed,” she says.
The mother of three says her husband has been on the run ever since the soldiers started forcefully evicting locals in the area.
Hundreds of locals have been left homeless in the wake of an ongoing forceful eviction by the government over a disputed 40 square kilometre piece of land.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) rangers backed by UPDF soldiers began forcefully evicting locals from the area in February, claiming the residents were illegally settled in East Madi wildlife Game Reserve.
Mr Wilson Azuma, the production officer in Apaa Parish, alleged that about 500 huts have so far been razed down while properties worth millions of shillings have been destroyed in the forced eviction.
“Many of our people are sleeping in the cold, they have nothing left because the soldiers carrying out evictions never allowed them to carry anything. We need urgent help from the government,” Mr Azuma said.
Refuge at a community
He noted that hundreds of people whose huts were burnt down have sought refuge at a community school in Oyanga Parish adding that their living conditions are alarming.
The Fourth Infantry Division spokesperson, Maj Telesphor Turyamumanya, when contacted, acknowledged that UPDF soldiers have backed up UWA and NFA officials in carrying out eviction adding that it is ‘peacefully’ being conducted.
“The people occupying the area were told earlier to vacate since it’s a game reserve and forest reserve. The soldiers are not doing anything illegal but implementing eviction order,” Maj Turyamumanya said.
The Amuru District chairperson, Michael Lakony, however, said the forceful eviction is being done with impunity against innocent locals.
He said the area now being claimed by UWA was gazetted as a game reserve by an Act of Parliament in 2002, when land owners were still in Internally Displaced People’s camps.
Mr Lakony called on the intervention of President Museveni to solve the impasse.
Mr Tonny Olinga, UWA commander for East Madi Wildlife Game Reserve, when contacted, denied any forceful eviction of the residents saying ‘UWA respects rights of people.’
He said they have instead been advocating for peaceful relocation of the residents settled on the gazetted wildlife game reserve land.
Source: Daily Monitor
Statement: The Energy Sector Strategy 2024–2028 Must Mark the End of the EBRD’s Support to Fossil Fuels
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is due to publish a new Energy Sector Strategy before the end of 2023. A total of 130 civil society organizations from over 40 countries have released a statement calling on the EBRD to end finance for all fossil fuels, including gas.
From 2018 to 2021, the EBRD invested EUR 2.9 billion in the fossil energy sector, with the majority of this support going to gas. This makes it the third biggest funder of fossil fuels among all multilateral development banks, behind the World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank.
The EBRD has already excluded coal and upstream oil and gas fields from its financing. The draft Energy Sector Strategy further excludes oil transportation and oil-fired electricity generation. However, the draft strategy would continue to allow some investment in new fossil gas pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, as well as gas power generation and heating.
In the statement, the civil society organizations point out that any new support to gas risks locking in outdated energy infrastructure in places that need investments in clean energy the most. At the same time, they highlight, ending support to fossil gas is necessary, not only for climate security, but also for ensuring energy security, since continued investment in gas exposes countries of operation to high and volatile energy prices that can have a severe impact on their ability to reach development targets. Moreover, they underscore that supporting new gas transportation infrastructure is not a solution to the current energy crisis, given that new infrastructure would not come online for several years, well after the crisis has passed.
The signatories of the statement call on the EBRD to amend the Energy Sector Strategy to
- fully exclude new investments in midstream and downstream gas projects;
- avoid loopholes involving the use of unproven or uneconomic technologies, as well as aspirational but meaningless mitigation measures such as “CCS-readiness”; and
- strengthen the requirements for financial intermediaries where the intended nature of the sub-transactions is not known to exclude fossil fuel finance across the entire value chain.
Download the statement: https://www.iisd.org/system/files/2023-09/ngo-statement-on-energy-sector-strategy-2024-2028.pdf
Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.
Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF THE DPC KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT FOR AIDING AND ABETTING LAND GRABBING IN NYAMUTENDE KITWARA PARISH KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT AND CARRYING OUT ILLEGAL ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF INNOCENT RESIDENTS/ BIBANJA OWNERS FOR PROTESTING AGAINST THE ILLEGAL EVICTION FROM THEIR LAND.
We act for and behalf of the Lawful and bonafide occupants of Land described as LRV MAS 2 FOLIO 8 BLOCK 8 PLOT 22 (FORMERLY KNOWN AS RANCH 22).
Our Clients are residents of Nyamutende Village, Kitwara Parish in Kiryandongo District where they have lived for more than 30 years and sometime in 2017, they applied for a lease of the said Land to Kiryandongo District Land Board through the Directorate of Land Matters State House.
As they were still awaiting their Application to be processed, they were shocked to establish that the said land had been instead leased to and registered in the names of Isingoma Julius, Mwesige Simon, John Musokota William, Tumusiime Gerald, Wabwire Messener Gabriel, Ocema Richard and Wilson Shikhama, some of whom were not known to the Complainants. A copy of the Search is attached hereto
Our clients protested the above action and appealed to relevant offices, but were shocked to discover that the above persons had gone ahead and sold the same to a one Maseruka Robert.
Aggrieved by these actions, the Complainants appealed to the RDC who advised them to institute proceedings against the said persons, and assigned them a one Mbabazi Samuel to assist them to that effect. The said Mbabazi accordingly filed Civil Suit Noa 46 of 2019 against tne said registered proprietors at Masindi High Court challenging the illegal and fraudulent registration, sale and transfer of the subject land to Maseruka Robert.
While awaiting the progress of the case mentioned hereinabove, the Complainants were surprised to find that the said Mbabazi, instead of assisting them, he went into a consent settling the said suit on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. A copy of the Consent is attached hereto.
Among the terms of the said consent Judgment was that the residents would be compensated without specifying how much and would in return vacate the Land.
As if that was not enough, Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel are going ahead to execute the said Consent Judgment by forcefully evicting the occupants without compensation which has prompted the complainants to challenge the said Consent by applying for its review and setting aside at Masindi High Court which is coming up for hearing on the 29th March 2023. A copy of the Application is attached hereto.
Sensing the imminent threat of eviction, we also filed an application for interim stay of execution of the said consent to avoid rendering their application for review nugatory but unfortunately the same could not be heard on the date it was fixed for hearing (6th February 2023). A copy of the Application is attached hereto
On Thursday last week, three tractors being operated by 6 workers of a one Mbabazi Samuel [the very person who had been entrusted to represent our Clients to secure their Land through Civil Suit No.46 of 2019] encroached close to 50 acres of our Clients’ land and started ploughing it but our Client’s protested and chased them away.
We have however been shocked to receive information from our Clients that on Sunday at Mid night, 3 police patrols invaded the community in the night and arrested community members; Mulenje Jack, Steven Kagyenji, Mulekwa David, Ntambala Geoffrey, Tumukunde Isaac 15 years, Kanunu Innocent, Mukombozi Frank, Kuzara, Rwamunyankole Enock, and took them to Kiryandongo Police Station where they are currently detained.
We strongly protest the illegal arrests and detention of our Clients as this is a carefully orchestrated land grabbing scheme by Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel who are receiving support from the DPC Kiryandongo.
The purpose of this Letter therefore is to request your good office to investigate the misconduct, abuse of office and unprofessionalism of the said DPC Kiryandongo District and all his involvement in the land grabbing schemes on land formerly known as Ranch 22.
Looking forward to your urgent intervention,
C.C The Head Police Land Protection Unit Police Head Quarters Naguru
CC The RDC Kiryandongo District
CC The Chairman LCVKityadongo District
CC The Regional Police CommanderAlbertine Region
The Executive Director of Witness Radio Uganda talks about the role played by Witness Radio in protecting communities affected by large-scale agribusinesses in Kiryandongo district in an interview with the ILC.
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