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‘No investor will take ranch 11’, ISO boss assures Kiryandongo locals

The Deputy Director Internal Security Organization, Gen. Taban Amin

KIRYANDONGO, UGANDA: The Deputy Director Internal Security Organization, Gen. Taban Amin has dared any investor to step on the under contested ranch 11 in Kiryandongo district.

Gen. Taban Amin made remarks during a stakeholder’s meeting called by the Kiryandongo district chairperson, Aliguma Edith Adyeeri.

“I don’t want to hear that there’s anything on Ranch 11 that will disturb the president. No investor will take any inch of land on that land as long as I am alive”, Amin stated.

He also stated that the said land belongs to people from Kibyama and Nubian communities. He also clarified that he has no connection with thieves who have interest of grabbing the land.

Ms Aliguma Edith the Kiryandongo district chairperson stated that the Ranch 11 issue was becoming a disturbing issue that required urgent address.

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“This issue of the Ranch 11 land was now turning into a problem because of investors. I am now very glad that our elder brother, Gen. Amin is on the side of the district and government and we pray that we walk together for the good of our people “, Aliguma stated.

Karubanga Jacob Ateenyi, the Kibanda South MP stated that the government plan to resettle formally the two communities on the said ranch is underway with 200 million passed for the same.

He thanked the community members and other leaders for standing still to fight intended land grabbing in the district and Ranch 11 in particular.

“Government is finalising plans to resettle the affected communities. This shouldn’t worry those already staying on the land. It is safe to get official documents because as you are aware, any time someone can come around and grab your land “, Karubanga stated.

Gen. Amin Taban (in army uniform) in a group photo with Kiryandongo district leaders, MP Karubanga Jacob and other stakeholders

Background

The first conflict started around 1911 when people who then lived in today’s Murchison Falls game park were resettled southwards upon its creation with people and institutions losing land. After gazetting the park for people in the south of Bunyoro Game Reserve.

When the Karuma wildlife reserve was created, they moved south in vast lands. In 1968 an aerial survey of the disputed “Mawanda” boundary of the wildlife reserve was done and no topographical survey was done until recently when beacons were placed causing violent conflicts.

During Amin’s regime in 1976, another conflict occurred as a result of irregular expropriation of land during the establishment of the former Palestinian land. In this case, peoples’ assets and property were assessed and valued with the hope of compensation or resettlement only to be brutally evicted. The majority of those evicted rushed back to the game reserve amidst unclear boundaries.

After the fall of Amin, the original occupants of the Palestinian farmland regained occupancy as there was no activity taking place on the land, bearing in mind, they had not been compensated.

In 1986 when the NRM government came to power, the government was desirous of rejuvenating the land as a UPDF farm and in the process ignorantly evicted everybody that had occupied the land. The victims still moved to the game reserve.

In 1994 and 1998 evictions from the wildlife reserve were done in a bid to secure it amidst disputes. In 1999 a violent dispute occurred along the reserve boundary culminating in a brutal eviction that led to the loss of life and property.

Masindi district council conducted a probe into these evictions in 2000, a report was produced and submitted to the Ministry of Lands.

The Masindi probe report was considered by the cabinet and a decision was made to resettle these people together with the Nubians on Ranch 11.

This was followed by the launch of the resettlement committee by Hon Baguma Isoke pending the land fund.

In 2003 the conflict was again resurrected with the leasing of the former UPDF farmland to the Mukwano group of companies. In 2006, the president requested the minister in charge of the presidency to handle the Nubian community which did not happen.

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For all this long, victims have made various attempts to have government resettle them but several pledges by the government had never come to pass.

The news of budgeting for the resettlement fund amounting to 200 million has caused a sigh of relief to the victims who hope that they will finally get resettled soon.



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