HEAVILY armed Police and UPDF soldiers have been deployed in Bigando village, Kitswamba sub-county, Kasese, following renewed clashes between cultivators and pastoralists over land in the area.
The two sides, which have sporadically fought each other since 2006, clashed again on October 8, when cattle allegedly strayed into the cultivatorsâ€™ gardens.
In the violence that ensued, 50-year-old Ezekiel Bingibyawire from Kabarole district was speared to death, bringing to 10 the number of cultivators who have been killed since the clashes began.
Kasese District Police Commander Felix Ebong said an unidentified boy was also injured by suspected cattle keepers as he tried to collect water from nearby river. â€œWe recovered 200 head of cattle in Kabale National Park from people claiming to be cultivators; which had been looted from the cattle keepers in Kasese,â€ Ebong said.
He said 25 people have been remanded to Mubuku prison on various charges. He said the suspects included eight on murder, seven on arson and 10 on inciting violence.
Ebong said over 40 huts had by Friday been torched, 10 cattle killed and other household property worth of millions of shillings destroyed on either side.
The violence started in 2006 after cattle keepers were driven out of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
They had invaded the park after being deported from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for encroaching on Virunga National Park. They had fled to the Congo in 1999, in search of water and pasture for their animals, following the drought that hit western Uganda.
In an effort to resettle them, the Government de-gazetted some parts of Mubuku and Ibuga Prison farms, the army farm at Hima and parts of Karusandara, previously leased from Queen Elizabeth National Park.
An inter-ministerial team was appointed by President Yoweri Museveni to resettle the pastoralists.
Chaired by agriculture minister Hillary Onek, the team also earmarked Rwehingo and Bigando farmland for the resettlement of the pastoralists.
Police, army deploy in Kasese