Farmers in Amuru are accusing Uganda Wildlife Authority of blocking them from accessing gardens; a move they fear might cause famine. The accusation follows a latest raid in the area by armed game rangers from Uganda Wildlife Authority on Saturday.
Farmers in Amuru are accusing Uganda Wildlife Authority of blocking them from accessing gardens; a move they fear might cause famine. The accusation follows a latest raid in the area by armed game rangers from Uganda Wildlife Authority on Saturday. Wilson Acuma, a resident of Punudyang parish, Pabbo Sub County in Amuru district says that armed game rangers raided the area on Saturday and fired bullets at the residents forcing them to flee in panic.
Acuma also claims that rangers abducted two people including a local leader identified as Obwoya Rwot Kweri besides looting property like bicycles. Acuma, himself a peasant farmer says that the rangers want them to vacate the land and are blocking them from accessing their gardens despite the fact their crops are nearing harvest.
Norak Acayo, a mother of four adds that they were excited to use the present rains to cultivate crops and overturn the dependency life they once had in the camp but fears that their dreams may be dashed with the interference by UWA.
Julius Oboma, an official of the Uganda Wildlife Authority at the Murchison Falls Conservation Area said the guards were initially attacked by the mob. He confirmed that two villagers were arrested to help contain the mob. Oboma maintained that the villagers have encroached into the wildlife reserve and are destroying the habitat in addition to poaching.
This is the second such incident in two months. On May 18, a team of armed guards from the Uganda Wildlife Authority descended on the village and destroyed houses, crops and other household items leaving many people destitute.
At the time, UN human rights and humanitarian agencies visited the area and reported that about 300 households had been left homeless after their homes were destroyed and property robbed. The team asked for an immediate investigation by the Amuru district local government and the Office of the Prime Minister into the actions of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
However, it appears that government is reluctant to take action. Last Friday, a scheduled visit by the minister of Tourism to the area was put off without reasons and no future date was given. Milton Odongo, the Resident District Commissioner claimed that he was not aware about the latest raid on the village by Uganda Wildlife Authority who maintains that the villagers should leave the gazzetted game reserve.
The controversy and lack of interest by the government is threatening to pose insecurity in the area. Already, the local leaders have warned of bloodshed. Justin Okot, the chairman of Apaa village waned that he would mobilize the villagers against the gunmen destroying their homes and property. The controversy has existed since the formerly displaced persons returned to the land from the IDP camps where they had fled and lived for nearly two decades.
uganda wildlife authority
murchison conservation area
guards destroy crops property
famremrs in panic predict famine