SECURITY BLOCK PROTESTORS
BY VINCENT MUGISHA
Security officials in Hoima district have blocked protesters for Save Bugoma forest organized by civil society organizations after learning of residents’ intensions to lynch them.
The activists under the Association for Conservation of Bugoma Forest had planned to carry out a 6 kilometer walk as a way of showing dissatisfaction over increased depletion of Bugoma forest and the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom giveaway of part of the forest land in Muhangaizima village, to Hoima Sugar investor.
Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom recently offered part of the forest land to a sugar cane investor but this was later halted by NFA.
But the issue had also attracted attention of other conservationists, who organized a protest walk against the giveaway.
But before the activists could set off from Hoima town, to Nsozi village in Kyangwali where the walk was meant to start, security blocked them.
Hoima Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Ambrose Mwesigye directed the protesters to halt the move, saying security on ground had been compromised.
He advised them to call off the protest and organize another day when the area is secure for them.
The residents led by Yabezi Kaguna Kabona claimed that the activists had hidden intensions of turning the Kingdom land into a chimpanzee conservation area.
The group comprised of over 200 people locked the road armed with arrows, sticks and machetes’.
But Costantino Tessarin, the Treasurer, Association of Uganda Tour Operators, who led the conservation walk, said the move was meant to highlight a concern by conservationists on the continued depletion of Uganda’s largest central reserve wondering why they were locked.
His pleas for security to escort them to Kyangwali were unsuccessful, as security maintained its stand.