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Violence mars latest Basongora evictions

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th June 2007 03:00 AM

WARDENS of the Uganda Wildlife Authority on Wednesday had to shoot in the air as eviction of Basongora herdsmen from the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese resumed.

WARDENS of the Uganda Wildlife Authority on Wednesday had to shoot in the air as eviction of Basongora herdsmen from the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese resumed.

By John B. Thawite

WARDENS of the Uganda Wildlife Authority on Wednesday had to shoot in the air as eviction of Basongora herdsmen from the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese resumed.

The pastoralists had been given a five-day grace period by the district security committee to vacate the park.

Addressing journalists at his Mweya office, the park’s chief warden, Tom Obong Okello, said his men shot in the air to disperse the pastoralists who had put up resistance in Kabatoro town council.
He also accused the herdsmen of taking advantage of the grace period to ferry youth to Nyabubale village to fight the park rangers.

Obong dismissed claims by the leader of the pastoralists, Wilson Okali, that seven people were injured in the stampede.

The evictions began recently after the tourism state minister, Sarapio Rukundo, directed the park authorities to block any new influx of pastoralists into the park, evict all those who entered sinceJuly 2006 and restrict their activities to a defined area near River Nyamugasani.

However, the pastoralists have vowed to stay in the park, saying the President directed them to keep in the park until the Government finds them alternative residence.

The Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, halted the earlier eviction saying it was being mishandled.
Park authorities argue that uncontrolled human movement in the park fuels poaching.

There is also fear that tourists’ numbers will drop if there is more cattle than wild animals in the park.

The pastoralists raided the park in March last year after they were evicted from Virunga National Park in eastern DR Congo for encroachment.

Violence mars latest Basongora evictions

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