By our reporter
Over 1000 residents from the five villages of Kinumi, Kitwetwe, Bisenyi Kaduku 1 and 2 in Kiryandongo and Masindi districts are complaining over forced evictions allegedly done by Kiryandongo sugar limited.
Residents say that in June this year, the lands minister came to their area after they petitioned her office and ordered for the establishment of a committee comprising a representative from the lands and defense ministries, the RDC and the LCV from both Masindi and Kiryandongo districts and a representative from the affected people but nothing much has materialized.
According to Geoffrey Muhoozi, a resident of Kitwetwe village in Miirya Sub County in Masindi district,on Monday last week soldiers who are giving protection to Kiryandongo sugar limited equipment came to her home and started firing live bullets.
Muhoozi adds that his cow was also cut by the people in the sugar cane and one acre of maize destroyed to pave way for sugar cane growing noting that he is not sure of what he will eat in the future.
He reveals that whenever their cows cross to the sugar cane fields they are cut with machetes adding that so far three have been cut.
Scovia Nyamwiza also a resident of Kitwetwe village notes that she was at her home when the bullets were rocking adding that she has even developed pressure due to the fear she is going through.
Rutabatsigyira David also a resident of Kinumi village in Miirya Sub County says he has stayed on the contested land for 13 years adding that when the Kiryandongo sugar took over land police kept on arresting them.
However, Deputy Resident Commissioner Masindi, Longino Baheebwa said the district security committee resolved to provide security to the equipment of Kiryandongo Sugar limited and that his office has not yet received any shooting complaints from the residents.
Spokesperson Artillery barracks Masindi, Capt Steven Tumwesigye says UPDF doesn’t evict people and their presence on ground is to keep the investor and his equipment on the ground.
The land in question is measuring 23 square miles and it formerly belonged to Bunyoro growers’ cooperative union before it was sold to the investors.
Bunyoro growers sold the land to an investor called Locab Agriculture Limited when they were there as tenants and in 2008 the investor went back to Kenya.
Residents say, when the investor was going, he told them to utilize the land and not to pay any rent to anyone.
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