Amuru residents have asked the Government to demarcate East Madi Wildlife Reserve boundaries following further clashes over forced eviction by Uganda Wildlife Authorities (UWA). East Madi game reserve is situated in Adjumani district.
The residents also want a boundary demarcated between Amuru and Adjumani districts. They said this would curb conflicts between them and the UWA officials who have now made two attempts to evict over 4,500 people from land they claim belongs to the game reserve.
The appeal follows destruction of the residents’ property by UWA officials. The officials burnt down 400 huts, killed domestic animals and birds and cut down fruit trees in Amuru district.
They allege that the residents have settled on the game reserve land illegally. The residents say that the land belongs to them as it is where they were settled and it is the ground upon which the graves of their ancestors stood, before the authority even existed.
Gilbert Olanya the Kilak MP, Col. Francis Acoka, the UPDF return and resettlement monitoring officer and Justino Ovuru, the Amuru district Police commander held a meeting with the residents and UWA officials in Lakang village in Amuru district recently.
He said to effect the demarcation exercise, the original map when Amuru and Adjumani were still part of Gulu and Moyo should be used. Julius Obwona, who led the UWA operational team, said: “We are responding to orders from above, to carry out this eviction because you people are encroaching on the game reserve. You are also selling parts of the land to people from outside. This area was gazetted by an act of Parliament in 2002 to be a game reserve, so you have to move out or else face the consequences.”
However, Olanya said: “The law states that when the Government needs to gazette an area, people in the area must be consulted. But in 2002, residents were still in camps, so who was consulted?”
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