OVER 1000 RESIDENTS FORCED OUT OF MASINDI FOREST RESERVE
By Yosam Gucwaki
Over 1000 encroachers who had encroached on Kasongoire central forest
reserve have voluntarily vacated it after being sensitized by National
Forestry Authority (NFA).
Kasongoire Central forest reserve is located in Budongo and
Kyabigambire sub counties in the districts of Hoima and Masindi.
According to Stuart Maniraguha, Range manager in charge of
management of forestry reserves in Bunyoro the entire forest reserve
is 3069 big and is surrounded by over 10 villages which include;
Kiryabutuzi, Katuugo, Kasongoire, Bugandale, Kiryamyongo, Terera
Kisagura, Kimanya, Kyabijwenge among others.
Maniraguha says that all encroachers who had planted food in the
reserve were given a period of eight months to remove their food
noting that 275 households were in the reserve saying that they were
occupying an area of 400 hectares.
He says that all this area is free from encroachment and tree planting
is ongoing normally.
He adds that there has been a standing challenge of the boundary
between the forest reserve and the neighboring communities saying
that to solve the empathy they engaged the authorities of Masindi and
Hoima and resolved to open the 43 kms boundaries which was done
He also explains that about half of the 400 hectares which were
recovered has been planted with trees noting that this is one of
success interventions they have done.
Muruli JohnBosco, the forest supervisor, Bujawe beat, says the reserve
had been encroached on by tobacco farmers.
However, he adds that to discourage the farmers from growing more
tobacco in the reserve they moved a mile stone and engaged the tobacco
companies to sign agreements compelling them not to use the farmers
grow more tobacco in the reserve.
He adds that they faced a lot of challenges while convincing the
people to vacate the reserve noting that sometimes they would be
attacked by the encroachers holding spears and machetes something
which forced them to deploy the army for fear of being attacked while
executing their duties.
Elisa, a resident of Katuugo village who also vacated the
reserve explains that they vacated the forest reserve after they were
told that a forest reserve is for tree planting and not for
Source:www.mknewslink.com a western Uganda news website.