By Robert Atuhairwe
Bunyoro kingdom has started evicting encroachers from its forests to pave way for replanting of trees in the destroyed parts.
The kingdom minister of agriculture, environment and forestry, Hajji Mustapha Byaruhanga, said the move is part of the plan to redevelop the destroyed forests.
“Eviction will continue in all kingdom forests that were reinstituted in an August 14, 2000 letter by the Government until they are cleared of all settlements,” Byaruhanga said.
He said the exercise kicked off on Thursday with the eviction of over 300 people from Wampanga softwood forest in Kitoba sub-county, Hoima district, and Kijubya forest along Hoima-Bugambe road where close to 100 people had settled and were making bricks.
He said they were allowed to harvest their crops and destroy their structures by themselves adding that those who are yet to harvest as they planted long maturing crops would also be allowed to harvest them but after getting clearance from his office.
Byaruhanga told the New Vision on Friday that the illegal settlers had planted crops and built temporary structures after cutting down trees which prompted the Omukama (king) Solomon Gafabusa Iguru to order for their eviction.
He said the exercise that has so far been peaceful comes against a backdrop of eviction notices and meetings with the said settlers. At Wampanga, the evicted encroachers carried their household belongings heading to unknown destinations while others had destroyed and vacated their temporary structures.
He named the forests that were encroached as Bigajuka near the cemetery in Hoima municipality, Musoma eucalyptus plantation, Masindi parish and Masindi Port in Masindi district.
Others are in Kibaale district and include Kakumiro, Kagadi, Kibaale and Ndaiga. Local leaders have shown support for the exercise.