NFA, local leaders to visit Bugoma forest as land-grab fears grip communities

Bugoma forest in Kikuube district.

Officials from the National Forestry Authority (NFA) and leaders of Kikuube district local government will today (Wednesday) move to Bugoma forest to clarify on the boundaries of the central forest reserve, Bunyoro Kitara kingdom land leased to Hoima Sugar Limited and that of different members of the communities.

The focus is on the areas that have of recent been marred with contest.

According to Kazi-njema News source inside a closed door meeting held at Kikuube district headquarters yesterday (Tuesday), the leaders agreed to move to the forest to forge a way forward towards getting the community out of fear for their land security as well as losing the central forest reserve.

The suspicious communities have for long been hoping they are neighbouring Bugoma Central Forest Reserve until last week when more than 300 persons started clearing some parts of the forest.

Mr Tom Rukundo, Director for Natural Forests Management at the NFA, Kikuube Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Richard Tabaaro, the District LC5 Chairman, Mr Francis Kazini and the top managers of Hoima Sugar Limited attended the meeting.

However, an official from NFA who preferred anonymity told this online news portal that today (Wednesday’s) trip is indifferent from other routine inspections done and not much into the ‘forestry’ and land conflict around Bugoma Central Forest Reserve.

Earlier on Sunday, October 25, Mr Vincent Alpha Opio, the Kabwoya sub-county councillor to Kikuube district revealed a plot by the district councillors to cause an inspection of the forest to get clear information about allegations that the forest is under serious degradation as the military guards the degraders.

Following the shoot-out at journalists and consequential arrest of Kazi-njema News reporter along with the Rwembaaho village chairperson last week, the Kikuube RDC, Mr Richard Tabaaro, suspended the felling of trees that was being carried out by more than 300 men around Rwembaaho parts of Bugoma forest.

He also revealed that officials from different relevant ministries would move to reopen the forest borders on the disputed areas this week.

Buhaguzi County Member of Parliament, Mr Daniel Muhairwe Mpamizo, has also pledged to fight for the land rights of the neighbouring communities to the land now in hands of the financially strong Hoima Sugar Limited, Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and the NFA.

With the emergency of new entities with rights of land around Bugoma forest, land security that involves the community has become another thorny issue pulling the interest of political leaders in Kikuube district.

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