Open Bugoma forest boundary to end tensions – SBFC

The call to reopen the boundaries of Bugoma central forest reserve has been reiterated and identified as a sure way of ending the nearly six-year-old conflict that has since captured news headlines.

Contained in an April 28 press release by Save Bugoma Forest Campaign (SBFC), the call has followed the latest eviction of more than 3,000 persons from the disputed land between the National Forest Authority (NFA), local communities and Bunyoro – Kitara Kingdom – the traditional neighbour of the forest reserve and community members.

Mr Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner (RDC), had confirmed that the authorities had started pushing out about 2,000 people engaged in charcoal burning and timber logging on the land they believe was green lighted for investments for only Hoima Sugar Limited away from community land.

However, he did not describe it as an eviction arguing that all persons advised by security to vacate were migrants from other parts of Uganda and the neighbouring countries of Kenya and Rwanda and were willing to vacate.

Kikuube RDC, Mr Amlan Tumusiime (in spotted shirt), interrogates persons paraded for eviction on the disputed land in Bugoma forest. (Photo: Gad Asaba)

However, SBFC says the most appropriate solution to resolve the conflict without violating the rights of anybody could be expediting the forest boundary opening.

The campaigners say they have palpable reports of eviction of hundreds of people from their houses and farmlands on April 7, 2022, by security forces led by the head of the district security committee chairperson.

The press release is signed by Mr Hassan Mugenyi, Chairperson – SBFC local taskforce and

Mr Joshua Mutale, the media contact – SBFC, who also call on government to allow the affected communities to access their farms until harvest as they await a durable solution.

They claim that any eviction before boundary opening is against the multi stakeholder meeting resolution achieved on February 23, 2022.

Mr Desire Nkurunziza Murenzi, the Chairperson for Nyairongo village had earlier this week told Kazi-njema News that they had petitioned the RDC over the same in fear that ignoring a call for access to gardens would expose the communities to hunger.

Ms Jenifer Baitwamasa, a member of SBFC said the delay to clarify on the boundaries puts the forest at risk of depletion.

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