Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner- RDC has intervened in the Bugoma forest land dispute involving the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, residents, and National Forestry Authority-NFA. The three parties are feuding over approximately 8 square miles covering the villages of Ngogoli, Karongo, Rwesanya and Butole in Kyangwali sub-county.
There are more than 500 occupants on the land engaged in agriculture, charcoal burning, and cutting timber on the contested land. Residents claim that the land is just adjacent to the Bugoma forest reserve but NFA wants to forcefully grab it.
The fights started recently after the Kingdom officials led by the chief prince (Okwiri) Fred Mugenyi Rucunya allowed hundreds of people to occupy the land found within the Bugoma forest land, saying the Omukama of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Dr. Solomon Gafabusa Igura owns it and has allowed his subjects to occupy and utilize it.
The RDC intervened after Rucunya petitioned his office to stop NFA officials from harassing and torturing the Kingdom subjects occupying the land in question. Rucunya’s petition followed several complaints by the kingdom subjects who claim they are being harassed and tortured by security operatives deployed by NFA on the contested land.
Lungton Tukasingula, one of the people utilizing the land accuses NFA and security officials of harassment, torture, indiscriminate arrests, and destruction of their crops. He says several acres of his maize plantation have been slashed by NFA officials yet he is cultivating on kingdom land.
Kusiima Ndongo, another resident explains that they have severally suffered in the hands of NFA officials who claim the entire land belongs to the authority including the one allocated to them by the Kingdom.
Charles Nyabongo Ochaki, a member of the Babiito clan in the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, says that the contested land is one of the Kingdom’s properties restituted by the state.
He explains that the Kingdom has owned the land for many years, adding that the Omukama is concerned about the continued torture and harassment of his people on the land.
Peter Masika, the NFA supervisor for Ngogoli area in the Bugoma forest reserve denied claims of torture and harassment leveled against his team by the residents. He accuses the locals of clearing part of Bugoma Forest for cultivation, timber logging, and charcoal burning yet there are boundary marks separating the community land and the forest reserve.
Tumusiime, ordered NFA officials to stop harassing the kingdom subjects occupying the land. He also ordered residents who are operating in the forest to stop clearing the forest, burning charcoal, and cutting timber and promised to convene a meeting between the top NFA management and the Kingdom officials within two weeks to discuss the matter and get a lasting solution to the conflict.
Do you have a story in your community or an opinion to share with us: Email us at email@example.com