Connect with us

Defending Land And Environmental Rights

Njuba’s Gold Mine victims: A violent Eviction that Opened Wounds That May Never Heal Forever



By Team

“I think I should have been able to rescue some of my belongings, but I wasn’t around at the time of eviction. But all the same because even those found on the ground only managed to save small things like mattresses. It was a dark hour to the extent that some people forgot their children behind and instead, ran away with goats,” Twaha Ssebandeke (42), one of hundreds of thousands that were violently evicted from gold mines in Mubende district told with a shaky voice.

“The forceful eviction affected me because we were ambushed without any notice. They should have given us adequate notice to move our property out to avoid the incalculable loss suffered. Can you imagine, they gave us just two hours to vacate the mining area that we occupied for years! We had accumulated wealth from that area, but it was all lost in just hours,” Ssebandeke added, but this time crying.

On August 4, 2017, Gertrude Nanyunja Njuba, the investor claims to be the sole licensed person to extract all gold in Mubende district used soldiers from Uganda People Defense Forces (UPDF) and the Uganda Police Force to demolish at least 120,000 residential, commercial and community buildings throughout six villages of; Lujinji A, Lujinji B, Lujinji C, Kampala, Kayonza and Lubaali all located in Kitumbi and Bukuya sub-counties in Mubende district.

The gold-rich land which Njuba, a state House director on land matters, forcibly obtained after evicting thousands of people including extended families which had lived side by side for decades, measures 12-square miles.  The forceful eviction saw relatives scattered among the neighboring towns and villages and in some cases as far as other districts on top of forcing them to abandon their multi-million businesses and biological children in favour of animals.

All families were plunged into homelessness now living under temporally shelters covered by tarpaulins as opposed to the good houses they lived in before being razed.

After the eviction, Ssebandeke said “I approached the security personnel to request them to allow me at least get out poles to enable me put up temporary shelter somewhere, they rejected it.”

“We were deprived of shelter, we are now suffering with our children almost without anything to eat. I can now fail to get even Shs 2,000 [less than a dollar] yet I could earn between Shs 40,000 [$11.1] and Shs 50,000 [$13.8] daily.”

To this date, the land is still under heavy protection by security personnel with strict orders not allow any person to access it. But according to available facts ascertained by the land in question covers both public and private mile land owned by six different landlords. has established in its investigations that different people owned small plots after successfully buying them from different lawful owners of land.

“People who owned land lawfully in the mining area, also lost out yet they had developed them to the level of renting out rooms and by the way, some people engaged in farming which fetched them money. As we speak, we are seeing destroyed things being driven away by trucks as scrap yet those mining machines were obtained expensively through bank loans ranging between Shs2m [$555] and Shs 3m [833.3], we are informed that they are being sold out at Shs 200,000 [$55.5] and sometimes, Shs 150,000 [$41.6] to them by UPDF solders and police” Robert Ssempewo, the chairperson of Mubende gold mining grounds said.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Defending Land And Environmental Rights

The abducted community land rights defender is found and released on a police bond.



By Witness Radio Team.

A Kawaala Zone II community land rights defender who was waylaid and arrested by eight (8) armed policemen has been found at Old Kampala regional police headquarters and released without a charge.

On 31st/10/2022, armed Policemen arrested Kabugo Michael who was due to set off for a community meeting between the residents, Witness Radio – Uganda, and the Accountability Counsel intended to discuss issues surrounding their land interests targeted by the infrastructural project.

Kabugo is a community land rights defender in Kawaala Zone II Rubaga division, Kampala district. He is one of the community land rights defenders facing reprisals for defending the community’s land targeted by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) for a drainage channel construction and expansion project funded by the World Bank.

After a long day search for the abducted community defender, Witness Radio lawyers found him held at the Old Kampala regional police headquarters.

Mrs. Adongo Sarah, one of the victim’s lawyers said the police reviewed an old file where the victim was accused of ‘fraud’ and re-interviewed him.

“He was able to make an additional statement, and his police bond and that of his other colleagues accused alongside with on the old file was extended to Friday 4th November this year.” She added.

She further said Michael’s arrest was arbitrary, adding that even the Officer in Charge of the case at Old Kampala Regional Criminal Investigations Department could not give reasons.

The victim’s lawyers believe these increased actions of arrests, kidnaps, and detentions of Kawaala community land rights defenders are reprisals for their work of opposing

Continue Reading

Defending Land And Environmental Rights

Breaking: A Kawaala community land rights defender kidnapped and taken to unknown destinations, others on the run.



By Witness Radio-Uganda.

Armed Policemen have this morning waylaid and arrested a community land rights defender in Kawaala zone II Rubaga division, Kampala district, Witness Radio-Uganda has learned.

Mr. Kabugo Micheal is a renowned community land rights defender who advocates for fair compensation of the community land on an ongoing project of Lubigi drainage channel expansion funded by the World Bank and implemented by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).

According to eyewitnesses, the defender was at Mr. Kasozi’s home (one of the community defenders) before setting off for a community meeting between the residents, Witness Radio – Uganda, and Accountability Counsel. The meeting was to discuss issues surrounding their land interests targeted by the infrastructural project.

“As he was sitting on a Boda (motorcycle taxi driven in Uganda and other East African States), police rounded him up before his arrest. We saw him being manhandled. They (police) forced him onto one of the police bodas before he was taken to unknown destinations.” Said an eyewitness.

Another eyewitness further explained that he was arbitrarily arrested by eight (8) armed policemen on a police patrol

Mr. Kasozi Paul Ssengendo who also witnessed the arbitrary arrest of Michael said police are targeting them with arrests because of their work to resist forced eviction by Kampala Capital City Authority.

“I am currently on the run. I was a target of police but I managed to escape.” The defender told Witness Radio.

In June this year, Mr kabugo and 5 others were arrested and falsely charged with forgery, a charge they said is retaliation for their work in fighting for their land rights.

Continue Reading

Accountable Development To Communities

Breaking: Court dismisses a criminal case against a community land rights defender for want of prosecution.



By Witness Radio Team.

Kiryandongo. A criminal trespass case against a community land rights defender has been dismissed over the prosecution’s failure to adduce evidence before the Chief Magistrate Court that pinned the community defender on the alleged charges.

On 27th October 2021, Kiryandongo Chief Magistrate Court charged Otyaluk David with criminal trespass and remanded him to Masindi prison. He was later granted court bail and since then, he has been traveling 48 kilometers to and from court every fortnight.

Before he was presented before a court, Otyaluk was kidnapped and illegally detained in Kiryandongo Central Police Station (CPS) cells for five (5) days for trespassing on a piece of land he (Otyaluk) had lived and cultivated since he was born.

In the afternoon of 21st October, two (2) armed men cladding Uganda People Defense Forces (UPDF) uniform and police personnel raided Otyaluk’s home and got him kidnapped to an unknown destination. UPDF soldiers guard Kiryandongo Sugar Limited plantations.

“On the day of his kidnap, Otyaluk was found praying in his house. In a blink of an eye, the defender was rounded up and bundled onto a vehicle owned by Kiryandongo Sugar Limited, forcefully evicting us off our land. We later learned that he was taken into evictor’s facilities where he was kept for some time before being transferred to Kiryandongo CPS” A family member remembers.

A family member further added that before the kidnap, Otyaluk’s family had lost about 12 acres of land to Kiryandongo Sugar Limited.

“Company workers under the protection of soldiers brought a tractor and plowed acres of semi-mature maize, beans, sorghum, and sim-sim. We were only left with a small piece of land where our house sits and we are currently trapped in the middle of a sugarcane plantation” a family member added.

Since the trial period was announced, the prosecution failed to bring witnesses to pin Otyaluk for trespassing on his land. It was only on the 19th of July, 2022 during a court session, one Adamuru Peter, allegedly to be a company manager turned up as a company representative but not as a witness.

In her ruling last week, a magistrate at Kiryandongo Magistrate court discontinued the trial of Otyaluk and dismissed the case.

Otyaluk is one of the luckiest among hundreds of community land and environmental rights defenders currently under persecution to have his case dismissed. It’s an order of the day for the community land and environmental rights defenders to be kidnapped, arbitrarily arrested, and tortured on orders of investors for their work of mobilizing the communities to desist land grabs.

Kiryandongo Sugar Limited is among multinationals forcefully evicting over 35000 local and indigenous people off their land to give way to large-scale agribusinesses.

Kiryandongo Sugar Limited is one of the many companies owned by the Rai Group of Mauritius. The dynasty owns several other companies in DR Congo, Kenya and Malawi, and Uganda. A dynasty owns companies such as West Kenya Sugar (which owns Kabras Sugar), Timsales Limited, Menengai Oil Refineries, Rai Ply, and Webuye Panpaper.

In Uganda, the Rai Group of Mauritius owns Nile Ply limited, Kinyara Sugar Limited, and Masindi Sugar Limited among others. One of its directors is a shareholder of a British Virgin Islands company, listed in the Panama Papers database recently.

The same company has fraudulently gotten a license to replace part of Bungoma natural forest with a sugarcane plantation.

“Court has shown today that the company is maliciously arresting us to keep us in jails. To weaken our hearts, wasting our time and resources. They intentionally do this because we refused to surrender the land we have lived on for years. It is shaming that the government has failed to protect the rights of the poor people.” The defender noticed.

Continue Reading

Resource Center

Legal Framework




Subscribe to our newsletter

No spam mail' ever' its a promise