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Row erupts over sand mining ban in Ntoroko

Sand Mine in Kibuuku town council, Ntoroko district.

Ntoroko, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There is a bitter row between Ntoroko Resident District Commissioner – RDC, Elijah Biryabarema and sand miners.

The miners, who are concentrated in Kibuuku Town Council, accuse Biryabarema of stopping their operations thereby affecting their livelihood.

Anesteri Bahemuka, one of the miners says that they have been mining sand for over 10 years but were shocked last week when Biryabarema deployed police to evict them and impound any trucks carrying sand. According to Bahemuka, the ban on sand mining is affecting their survival, since it is the only source of their livelihood.

Micson Kasaija, the Chairman Kibuuku sand miners notes that Biryabarema never consulted any of them before he decided to stop sand mining. He says what hurts them most is that whereas they have been stopped from sand mining in Kibuuku, Abbasi Balinda, a businessman from Fort Portal is going on with the same activity in Bweramule Sub County.

He vows to do whatever it takes to ensure they are allowed back to the mines. The affected miners numbering to over 350 staged a demonstration on Monday and blocked access to the district headquarters. It only took the intervention of Ntoroko LC V chairman, Timothy Kyamanywa to calm down the protesters. 

Kyamanya says that he doesn’t know why sand mining would be stopped because it is not a resolution of the district council, adding that he is going to use his authority to ensure all the miners are back to their respective mines with or without the RDC’s approval.   

Biryabarema declined to comment on the allegations, saying he was outside the district. Efforts to get a comment from the Ntoroko District Environment Office were futile.

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