More than 100 People Evicted from Forest Reserve

1165 Views Kole, Uganda

In short
In January this year, the National Forestry Authority ordered the affected people to vacate the piece of land measuring approximately 210 hectares in vain. As a result, the families through their lawyer, Quirinus Oyugi Onono from Oyugi Onono and company filed a case in court staying their eviction, saying their families have been occupying the contested land since 1940.

More than 100 people in Kole district are homeless following their eviction by the National Forestry Authority-NFA from a contested piece of the land. The affected people were evicted over the weekend from Abalokare, Dogikore and Amoilela villages in Amoilela parish Bala Sub County for alleged trespass on a forest reserve.
 
 
In January this year, the National Forestry Authority ordered the affected people to vacate the piece of land measuring approximately 210 hectares in vain. As a result, the families through their lawyer, Quirinus Oyugi Onono from Oyugi Onono and company filed a case in court staying their eviction, saying their families have been occupying the contested land since 1940.
 
 
However, in its defense, the legal department of the National Forestry Authority-NFA argued that the contested land declared a forest reserve in 1994. NFA also noted that following the eviction notice, the affected households opted for a negotiated settlement involving their leaders. The matter was then subjected to a mediation process with the help of Phiona Nanyonga, the mediator of Lira Court.
 
 
But in her report to court, Nanyonga says the matter was not resolved conclusively. Nanyonga said the two parties failed to resolve the matter amicably and instead opted to handle it legally. However, before the matter is resolved NFA went head to expel the residents.
 
 
Vincent Atim and Francis Obong, both residents of the affected areas, say the eviction has left more than 100 people homeless. According to the duo, their houses were demolished by a team of police and crime preventers. Quirinus Oyugi Onono, the lawyer of the affected families, says the eviction was illegal.
 
 
 
Manshur Suwed, the North Kyoga Regional Police spokesman, says the victims signed an agreement with National Forestry Authority to vacate the area on 31st January 2016. He feigned ignorance of a pending court case on the matter. 

 

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