New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: UPDF Evicts 3,000 in Oil-Rich Hoima

THE defense ministry is to evict over 3,000 residents in seven villages in Hoima district to establish an army base near the oil wells.

Maj. Gen. Joram Mugume, the head of the defense ministry's land board, yesterday said the move was aimed at increasing the army's presence around oil-rich areas.

"It has been our plan to increase the security of that area and also low lying areas," Mugume said.

The land, measuring about 21 square miles in Kyangwali sub-county, is part of over 99 square miles of Kyangwali resettlement camp which is under the prime minister's office.

He said the land covering the villages of Kitikara, Ngurwe, Ngoma, Nyakatehe, Kituti, Kabanena and Kasonga had been given to the army by the prime minister's office.

Mugume added that an army unit had already been established in the area to help with registering the people there.

"We are in the middle of people we don't know. We want to know who they are and when they came," he said.

The Hoima deputy resident district commissioner (RDC), Swamadu Wantimba, said the registration exercise had started amid protests from local political leaders.

He explained that some of the politicians were asking people to shun the exercise.

"It is a big piece of land that has been encroached on by Rwandans and Congolese," Wantimba said.

An army official conducting the registration exercise, however, said the people affected were less than 3,000, a number he said had been inflated by politicians.

"Most of them are not Ugandans. They came from Rwanda and Congo and the Government is asking them to leave," he said.

But the RDC said the number of people to be evicted exceeded 3,000.

The Buhaguzi county MP, Julius Junjura, said he was opposed to the eviction of the people without allocating them to an alternative area.

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