Hoima

Over 100 families are feeding on wild fruits collected from the nearby forest following the destruction of their crops and other properties during a forced eviction exercise at Bukinda village, Kyangwali Sub County in Hoima district six months ago.

Already signs of malnutrition are evident as food insecurity intensifies while breastfeeding mothers lack breast milk for their new born babies.

The forced eviction conducted by state organs namely police, the UPDF and officials from the office of the prime minister left over 10,000 people without food, shelter and other basic necessities of life.

 Currently the communities are camping at Kyangwali sub county headquarters. They erected makeshift structures in the sub county compound without access to clean safe water, gardens and health facilities.

“We pick herbs from forests as treatment for both adults and our children because there are no health units.” Said one of the evicted members.      

Disease outbreak is becoming the great concern for area local leaders. Kyangwali subcounty chairman Mr Omuhereza Mazirane described the situation as catastrophic which requires urgent intervention from government. 

Unwanted witness visited the makeshift camp which the families have set up and discovered that there were even babies who are exposed to such horrible circumstances.

The families have built using small poles and grass. Some of them have dilapidated tarpaulins 

The head of the affected families Mr Wilson Kaligenda said over six babies were born by mothers under the makeshift structures with the help of traditional birth attendants.

The residents allege that in august 2013, government agents entered their land covering about 3,500 acres and declared it to be part of Kyangwali refugee camp.

 An inter ministerial committee headed by Hon Hillary Onek,the minister of disaster preparedness and refugees visited the area and instituted a technical verification team headed by Maj Gen Julius Oketta,the Director of National Emergency Coordination and Operations, in the Office of the Prime Minister.

The committee was tasked to investigate whether the evicted families have legal claims over the land from which they were evicted.

The committee was supposed to among others recommend for relocation of those with genuine claims or help them resettle in their original pieces of land.

The committee recently presented its findings in the Hoima district council which indicated that evicted families had encroached on Government land.

However the residents contend that their land is not part of the Kyangwali refugee settlement whose boundaries are clear and covers approximately 90 square kilometers on plot 6, Buhaguzi block 3.

The residents want government to compensate them with Shs 900 million, want a declaration that their land is not part of the refugee settlement and that government officials trespassed on their land.

Oketta told the Hoima district council recently that the boundaries of the land were opened and save for the residents near Kyakatehe village, the majority of the evictees had encroached on Kyangwali refugee camp land.

The committee reported that among the evicted people were 100 Rwandese, 48 Congolese and 1640 indigenous people.

 End

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