Confrontation recently erupted between Kilak Member of Parliament Mr Gilbert Olanya and the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Amuru district Mr Milton Odongo over the eviction of over 4,000 people in Apaa sub-county in Amuru district.
According to Mr Olanya, it was not the Uganda Wildlife Authority that kicked people out the of land but UPDF soldiers who have an interest in the area.
“We know them, they have interest in the area but the law will take its course,” Olanya said.
But Odongo insisted that the Apaa land is a reserve which is not even in Amuru but in Adjumani district and that during the war people moved to areas that were demarcated as IDP camps.
Odong tasked Olanya to give the details of the individuals who carried out the eviction, but Olanya said that the names will be produced in Parliament not to Odongo.
Mr Odong said that the eviction was the work of UWA and he was made aware of it through a letter signed by the then Minister for Trade and Tourism Mr Kahinda Otafiire, “so the orders were from above and we could not do much.”
In a press release by the authority’s Conservation Area Manager Mr. Tom Okello; they are only “working under the law in protecting the integrity of the wildlife reserve from encroachers as is provided in the Uganda Wildlife Act 2000.”
“These people were encroachers to the game reserve contrary to the law,” noted Mr. Okello in the press release.
He called upon the community to remain law abiding and “desist from encroaching and settling in the wildlife reserves because they risk being evicted and UWA will continue to remove all illegal structures erected in the protected area, because the place is not for human settlement,” he said.
Mr. Okello further explained that “the game reserve is entirely located in Adjumani district not in Amuru and so no one from Amuru district was affected by the eviction as reported and the claim that the land belongs to Amuru must be halted with immediate effect.”
He also revealed that the game reserve land was gazetted by the Ministry of Tourism Trade and Industry in 2001 and so seizes to be land for settlement.
Last week over 4,000 people were evicted from Apaa with their huts and property destroyed for allegedly encroaching on game reserves.
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