More than 200 residents of Karugutu Sub County in Ntoroko district are involved in a land disputed with Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF. The disputed 40 acre piece of land is located in Karambi village in Karugutu town council. The land was degazetted by Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA in 2000, to resettle 200 families that were displaced from Nyaburongo to create space for Chimpanzees to mate.
However, at the height of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel insurgency, UPDF forcedly evicted residents and established an operation centre to coordinate the fight against the rebels. The army promised to vacate the land after the insurgency but in 2009 UPDF constructed a barracks, leaving residents homeless. Since 2010, the residents have been demanding for their land from UPDF or compensation from government.
On Sunday, Aronda Nyakairima, the Chief of Defense Forces rushed to Ntoroko after reports emerged that the angry residents were planning to set the barracks ablaze. In the past, several residents have also been detained for trespassing on the premises of the barracks. In a telephone interview, Ninsiima Rwemijuma, the UPDF’s 305 Brigade spokesperson said that the residents will be compensated when UPDF ascertain the exact number of people who were occupants on the land.
According to Rwemijuma, the army has a list of five people who have land titles, but he is surprised that the number keeps on increasing. Rwemijuma says that a committee comprising of UPDF officers and Ntoroko local leaders has been set up to liaise with UWA to ascertain the right number of people, who are supposed to be compensated.
But the Ntoroko district LCV chairperson Timothy Kyamanywa says that setting up the committee is a delaying tactic by the UPDF. He claims that all the residents have land titles and that they have written several letters to the army demanding for compensation but nothing has been done.