Hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northern Uganda have sued the country's wildlife authority, demanding 2.8 billion shillings for damage to their crops and other property by elephants and buffaloes straying out of a national park in the region.
More than 1000 claimants from Alero, Koch-Goma and Amuru sub-counties are demanding special damages against the Uganda Wild Life Authority for violation of their right to life, right to property and livelihoods by the marauding beasts.
Bernard Oryema, one of the claimants from Koch-Goma, says that the affected communities from the villages of Alero, Koch-Goma and Amuru have decided to seek compensation through the courts of law.
Oryema says animals from a national park that government should have controlled not to stray into villages where IDPs are returning have destroyed all the crops and fears are rife that the people could be hit by famine.
The wild animals have destroyed bananas, maize, beans, millet, potatoes, rice, sesame, groundnuts sorghum and yams that the IDPs had planted.
In November, one of the returning IDPs set ablaze his hut as he tried to scare away herds of elephants that were approaching his home in Koch-Goma village.
Amuru local leader Gilbert Olanya told IRIN, that local people had lost faith in the Uganda Wild Life Authority for failing to control wild animals straying out of the game park.
But Edward Asalu, the Murchison Falls National Park senior conservation officer, said the authority had not received any notification of the IDP suit.
The IDPs have sought the help of a legal firm based in Kampala which has already served notice on the attorney-general, copied to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, giving the government and the wildlife body 60 days to respond.