The Ministry of energy has started eviction of Banyarwanda pastoralists that recently invaded the proposed oil refinery land in Kabaale, Buseruka sub county Hoima district. The nomads have occupied the villages of Nyamasoga, Bukona A and B and also Kyapaloni.
The pastoralists with large cattle herds have invaded the refinery area at the time when government is compensating the original settlers so they could vacate the land. The refinery is geared towards refining Uganda’s crude oil in the Albertine rift into finished petroleum products.
Hangi Bashir, the Communications Officer in charge of the refinery at the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department says the nomads’ number is not known and their actual origin is still unclear they invaded the land beginning December last year.
Hangi who led a team of security and Hoima district officials to Nyamasoga, one of the invaded villages on Friday maintains that the nomads are in the area illegally and they should leave. He says in addition to their illegal stay in the area, the invasion is also breeding war between them and the Alur farmers.
Although Hangi and the district team were on ground to address the nomads challenge, none of them was seen despite the fact that cattle was seen grazing in the area. The team eventually held a meeting with village leaders.
Fred Kasangaki, the Buseruka LC3 Chairman says the pastoralists are believed to have come from the neighboring Kyarushesha in Kyangwali Sub County while others could have come from the Lake Albert shores in Buseruka.
Kasangaki says some claim to have rented land from the Alur farmers to graze their animals until the end of the dry season in March, while others claim they were invited by their fellow nomads who stay in the area for grazing land. According to the Kasangaki, the Alur have however denied having rented land to the pastoralists.
Another meeting is called today by George Tinkamanyire Bagonza, the Hoima district Chairman to communicate the government stand against any settlements in the refinery land. Bagonza says by all means the pastoralists will be thrown out of the refinery land.
In 2010, government evicted about 600 nomadic families in the neighboring Buliisa district. Their eviction followed a court order that they leave the Bugungu communal agricultural land, where they settled illegally. Following the eviction the pastoralists were seen taking different directions to Hoima, Masindi and Kyankwanzi districts.
Leaders believe the pastoralists in Buseruka, which is less than 60kilometers away from Buliisa, could be remnants of the Buliisa group.