12 January 2006

Uganda: Encroachers to Be Resettled

Kampala — The Government has pledged to resettle encroachers on South Busoga Forest Reserve in Mayuge district, water, lands and environment minister Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire has said.

He said the exercise targets over 450 families, the majority claiming ancestral inheritance.

Otafiire was addressing a rally at Mutagisa primary school in Bukatabira parish, Mayuge district on Monday.

Accompanied by the NRM eastern region team headed by their chairperson Capt. Mike Mukula and officials from the National Forestry Authority, Otafiire told residents that the Government was aware of their concerns.

"We know the suffering and plight you are going through. I urge you not to do any more encroachment on the reserve because the Government is ready to resettle those who have already built houses. If it means buying land in Kabale or Masindi, we will do it and take you there," Otafiire said.

Zainabu Kalikusika of Nakigo village urged the Government to effect the decision quickly.

Otafiire requested the residents to ask their leaders to address their problems in Parliament.

He urged district leaders to set up a committee to work with the NFA experts to implement the plan.

Otafiire warned residents against buying the reserve land, saying the titles given to them were illegal.

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