Herdsmen Vacate Oil Refinery Land in Buseruka-Hoima

1882 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
The group had been given a one-week ultimatum by security agencies to vacate the refinery land or else be forcefully evicted. Initial reports indicated that more than 15000 head of cattle were being grazed on the land in question, by herdsmen who had earlier been evicted from Northern Uganda.

Herdsmen and cultivators have started vacating the gazetted oil refinery land in Kabaale parish Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district which they had illegally occupied.

The group had been given a one-week ultimatum by security agencies to vacate the refinery land or else be forcefully evicted. Initial reports indicated that more than 15000 head of cattle were being grazed on the land in question, by herdsmen who had earlier been evicted from Northern Uganda.

The group had pitched camp in the villages of Nyahaira, Kitegwa, Kyapaloni, Katooke, Bukona and Nyamasoga which are among the 13 villages earmarked by the government for the construction of the oil refinery. The same land was invaded by residents from neighbouring villages who had planted crop gardens on it.

However last week, Major General Sam Okiding, the commandant of the Field Artillery Masindi army barracks said all encroachers had a grace period of one week to cease activities and vacate the land. He said that the eviction order was intended to protect Uganda's interests other than a few individuals who want to use it for personal gain.

Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network in an interview this morning that the herdsmen started moving from the land on Monday, and that the numbers have continued to dwindle throughout the week.

He says the invasion of the herdsmen into the refinery land had greatly affected the construction work of the refinery since they could tamper with roads and other construction activities at the refinery. Hakiza added that security agencies will not allow any illegal activity to be carried out in the refinery land.

This is not the first time herdsmen have invaded the oil refinery land in Kabaale. In 2014 a group of herdsmen invaded the area and started grazing animals on the land without the knowledge of the government.

The government in 2012 acquired 29 square km piece of land in Kabaale to pave way for the construction of a refinery.