• Mon. Jun 5th, 2023

UGANDA, Hoima | Real Muloodi NewsLeaders in Hoima seek unconditional release of 11 persons detained a week ago on Sunday 12th February 2023 after the harsh eviction of over 500 households in Kiganja and Kapapi sub-counties in Kigorobya County.

More than 50 houses were set on fire, and an unknown number of livestock, including cows and goats, were looted during the eviction.

During the forceful evictions, some residents went missing and are believed to have been arrested, namely: Eria Mulega, Sam Bataza, Edward Karongo, Steven Karongo, Steven Langila, Fred Nyagihi, Muneda Inosi, and Moses Muzoora, among others.

Hoima residents are now seeking government intervention and compensation.

How it all Began

On Sunday 12th February 2023, a group of people, armed with guns and machetes, who are believed to be private security guards, reportedly raided villages at 1 am, using tear gas to force residents out of their homes.

The security guards then demolished some houses and burnt others, causing injuries and leaving several people unaccounted for. Some women alleged that they were raped during the eviction.

Some moved to neighbouring villages while others camped at Rwenyana Gospel Church in Kapapi Sub-county.

The eviction was carried out on two titled pieces of land owned by tycoons based in Hoima District and Kampala.

One title belongs to Ndahura Gafayo, Astoni Muhwezi, David Mpora, Monica Rwashadika, Agaba H and Wilber Kiiza. This title covers Kapapi and Kiganja and measures 2,545 acres.

The second land title, belonging to Hoima town-based businessman Moses Asiimwe Byagire, covers four villages, including Waki South, Waki North, Kapapi Central and Kiryateete in Kapapi, and measures about three square miles.

Byagire stated that the evictees were herdsmen who hired the land to graze their cows, but when it was time to leave, they refused.

Response from the Residents

Buruhani Isingoma, one of the affected residents, said he had lived on the land since 1992, and he was shocked when the tycoons started claiming it. Isingoma is now stranded with his family, with nothing to feed them.

One of the residents, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that they want the government to compensate them for the loss of their property, which is estimated to be worth millions.

The resident said that they had been living peacefully on the land for many years, and they were not aware that it belonged to someone else.

The resident added that the eviction was conducted in a brutal and inhumane manner, and they were not given any notice to vacate the land.

Steven Kamwine cried out for government help, saying they had been left with nothing to survive, and they can no longer access their gardens after the eviction.

Response for the Area Leaders

Kigorobya County Member of Parliament David Karubanga described the act as inhuman and barbaric, with some women reporting that they had been raped during the eviction.

Karubanga urged the residents to go to health facilities for tests to confirm the allegations and seek medical aid.

Leaders and residents alike have condemned the violent eviction, with Kigorobya County MP David Karubanga and Hoima District Councillor for Kapapi Sub-county Chris Bahemurwaki seeking the intervention of the relevant authorities.

Bahemurwaki stated that leaders were not informed of the eviction and that the burning of houses, destruction of property, and beating of people was a violation of human rights.

Hoima Deputy Resident City Commissioner Michael Kyakashari stated that the eviction was conducted by private security guards sanctioned by Kampala, and no soldier or police officer was involved.

Response from the Landlords

Ndahura, one of the accused tycoons, said the residents were illegally occupying the land, adding that he acquired the title in 2008.

Recently, when they ordered settlers to leave the land, they refused, and he blamed the leaders for misleading them.

When asked if they had a court order to evict the residents, Ndahura said that security had been hunting for some of the residents for malicious damage, and they burned and destroyed their houses to create a case against the landlords.

When asked if Aine Sodo is part of them, Ndahura confirmed that Sodo is a shareholder.

Byagire said that he is the rightful owner of the land and that the evictees had been renting it from him. He added that he surrendered about one square mile to the people who had settled on this land for many years.

The incident highlights the continued land disputes between investors and local residents, which are becoming increasingly common across the country.


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