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Kikuube RDC to resettle 1,000 residents evicted from Kyangwali refugee settlement

Evicted residents pitch camp at the RDC’s office. File photo

Kikuube, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kikuube Resident District Commissioner-RDC Amlan Tumusiime is considering resettling over 1,000 people back on their ancestral land. The affected people have since February pitched camp outside the RDC’s office demanding his intervention to help them resettle on their land.

The affected people mainly women and children were evicted from Bukinda A and B, Bukinda 2, Kavule, Bwizibwera A and B, Kyeya A and B, Nyaruhanga, Kabirizi, Nyamigisa A and B, and Katoma villages among others in Kasonga parish, Kyangwali sub-county. The residents are feuding with the Kyangwali refugee settlement over 36square kilometers of land.

In September 2013, OPM officials backed by the police and UPDF evicted more than 60,000 people from the contested land for refugee settlement. The residents were forced to settle in camps in Kyeya village in Kyangwali sub-county under very poor conditions where they have stayed to date.

In 2016 and 2018, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni ordered the evicted residents to be resettled on their ancestral land but to date, the concerned officials are yet to implement the directive. This prompted residents to pitch camp at the RDC’s office seeking his intervention to enforce the president’s directive to resettle them back on their ancestral land.

Now Tumusiime, says that he is currently making consultations with the various government offices including the Prime Minister’s office to find modalities on how to resettle the victims back on their land. According to Tumusiime, he can not keep quiet when Ugandans are being turned into refugees in their own country, saying that he will soon allow the residents to go back to their land.

Tumusiime says that the evictees are currently surviving on donations from well-wishers since they do not have food to eat at his office.

Alice Nyinarukundo, one of the evictees, says that they are living in very horrible conditions since they are sleeping out in the cold without anything to eat. She vows not to vacate the RDC’s office until they are resettled on their land.

Rose Ahebwa, another victim wonders why the government has kept a deaf ear despite their continued suffering yet the land genuinely belongs to them.

When contacted by URN, Hillary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees, said that the land belongs to the government, which acquired it genuinely. In October 2021, Prime Minister Nabbanja halted all the activities by officials from her office on the contested land.

The PM issued the directive after discovering that some officials from the OPM and Kyangwali refugee settlement had connived to erect structures for refugees on the contested land and planted crops like beans, maize, cassava, bananas, and groundnuts among others. She said this could have been a move by some OPM and Kyangwali refugee settlement area officials to fraudulently grab the land from the community members neighboring the settlement.

She ordered the Minister for disaster preparedness, the Commandant of Kyangwali Refugee settlement area, Kikuube District Police commander-DPC, and Resident District Commissioner-RDC to ensure that no more activity takes place on the contested land until investigations into the wrangles are completed.

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