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Army evicts pastoralists from Buliisa

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th December 2010 03:00 AM

THE army and the Police has started evicting about 400 pastoralists from Buliisa. The operation was overseen by the national coordinator of intelligence services, Gen. David Tinyefuza.

THE army and the Police has started evicting about 400 pastoralists from Buliisa. The operation was overseen by the national coordinator of intelligence services, Gen. David Tinyefuza.

By Nicholas Kajoba
THE army and the Police has started evicting about 400 pastoralists from Buliisa. The operation was overseen by the national coordinator of intelligence services, Gen. David Tinyefuza.

Tinyefuza told journalists that the evictions were carried out legally, following an order by the Court of Appeal. The ruling said the Balaalo (pastoralists) should be evicted from Bagungu land for occupying the land illegally.

The eviction exercise was carried out by a combined force of the Police, the Army, as well as the intelligence services.

Tinyefuza said no force was used during the eviction: “We are doing it calmly and in an orderly manner. Modalities are being worked out with the Police and the lands ministry to get them a place to resettle.”

Yesterday morning, the pastoralists in the villages of Waiga, Waisoke, Bugana and Kataleba in Buliisa sub-county woke up to find the eviction underway. Security personnel ordered them to vacate the land with their livestock.

The livestock,which consisted of cattle, goats and sheep, was escorted by children towards neighbouring Hoima district.

Several herdsmen who talked to New Vision, complained about being evicted without notice, and demanded compensation from the Government.

They claimed to have bought the land from the indigenous Bagungu.

The leader of the Balaalo, Grace Bororoza, said the President had promised to compensate them.

“To our disappointment, we woke up in the morning to see armed people telling us to take our animals away. We don’t know where we are going. Some of us had built permanent houses,” Bororoza said.

Another herdsman, Edward Kakoro, 30, said he had migrated from Kyankwanzi in 2005 and bought land in Buliisa: “I came here with 140 head of cattle. We have children to care for and we don’t know how we are going to survive when they are pushing us like this without compensation.”

The eviction follows land-related ethnic conflicts, which have persisted in Buliisa since 2007 between the Balaalo and the indigenous Bagungu.

The conflicts also came after Tullow Oil discovered vast oil deposits in Buliisa.

On several occasions, the conflict resulted into bloody clashes between the two communities.

This prompted the Police to intervene. President Yoweri Museveni also intervened and assigned Gen. Tinyenfuza to pacify the area.

In October, Museveni announced that the Government was to cancel the title deeds of land grabbers in Buliisa. This followed complaints from residents that at least 700 hectares of communal land had been grabbed.

Army evicts pastoralists from Buliisa

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