3 May 2006

Uganda: Mubende Forest Attacked

Kampala — THOUSANDS of encroachers have occupied part of Namwasa forest reserve in Kasanda sub-county in Mubende district.

This is part of the forest being replanted with over 1,000,000 seedlings.

British-owned New Forestry Company, which was given a 50-year running license to grow trees in 6,000 hectares of the reserve, has started planting and intends to double the number of seedlings next year.

President Yoweri Museveni launched the $50m-worth (sh90b) tree planting investment three weeks ago.

The National Forestry Authority last week sent officials of its law enforcement department who counted over 213 new makeshift shelters. They estimated that each shelter accommodated about four people, bringing the number of new encroachers to 1,000.

The worst-hit areas are Mpologoma, Netulidde, Nabakazi and Kyamukasa.

Top forestry officials said the company should not be frustrated because its activities were already benefiting communities.

However, the investors said they had not encountered any fresh encroachers in the forest and the only area that is heavily hit was outside their part.

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