By Yosam Gucwaki
Residents of eight villages in Kasongoire parish Budongo Sub County in Masindi district have accused the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) of stealing and destroying people’s properties while carrying out their operations.
The concern was raised by the residents of the eight affected villages in Budongo Sub County during a meeting that was convened by Masindi district NGO forum at Kimanya COU on Monday.
The most affected villages include: Kimanya 1, Kimanya 2, Kasongoire, Kyabijwenge, Waipacu, Kisagura, Kiryamyongo, and Nyakyeju.
Asiimwe John, the chairperson LCI Kyabijwenge village, said that on the 12 may 2017, National Forestry Authority (NFA) while opening their boundaries brought soldiers from Hoima district beat his son and destroyed his properties still forced him to harvest banana which they took at no cost.
He also added that the soldiers went ahead and surrounded his house destroyed it thinking that he had hidden himself inside.
Asiimwe also explained the soldiers un tied his goats noting that out of the 71 goats he had, he remained with only 68.
Akumulikire Dinnah, from Nyakyeju village, revealed that as females were seriously disturbed explaining that as women they were ordered to get pangas and start cutting people’s sugar cane while opening NFA’s boundaries.
Sabit Samson, the the LCI Nyakyeju village, accused NFA of interchanging their boundaries whenever they open them saying that all this is being brought about by NFA failing to involve the area leaders in the exercise
Sabit added that for them in Kasongoire parish they are as if they were neglected noting that leaders have failed to come out for their rescue.
Some residents said that they believe the president of Uganda is behind this since NFA is doing everything out of impunity.
Responding to the residents’ concern, Cosmas B yaruhanga the chairperson LCV Masindi disclosed that is aware of the matter saying that they are not going to allow this happen again. He also said that as leaders of Masindi have organized a meeting on the 7th/may /2017 which will answer all their concerns.
Efforts to get a comment from Stuart Maniraguha, the sector the area sector manager NFA were futile since his known phone was off.
Nyakahuma Godfrey, the Resident district commissioner Masindi, said that they have stopped NFA’s operations in Masindi district noting that whoever was involved in beating people and destroying people’s properties will face the law.