Kabale – Environmental activists in Kabale district are concerned about increased threats on their lives from suspected potential environmental degraders.
Hillary Barigye, the coordinator of Assure Uganda Kigezi sub-region, a non-government organization advocating for environmental and climate justice revealed that he is living fear after he has been receiving threats from people warning him against engaging in the fight against swamps degradation by people that have set up washing bays.
He says that on May 7th 2021 while he was going home at around 6 pm he was attacked by two goons near Kirigime Guesthouse in Kirigime ward Kabale municipality who beat him and warned him to stop the fight that he is engaged in of closing washing bays that are on Kiruruma River he also says that he has been receiving phone calls threatening him to stop what he is doing or else will lead him to lose his life.
‘I and my environmental defenders are living in fear for our life’s as we have on several occasions received threats as They told me that if you don’t stop what you are doing with your group we shall deal with you,“ said Barigye.
He says that after the attack he reported at Kabale police station as the case was registered under SD 11/08/5/2021 Threatening violence.
Barigye says that even some of his colleagues; Anita Kyoshabire, Marion Asiimwe and Brenda Ayesigire have also been receiving threats as well were also Last month they were attacked by goons around National Teachers College in Kabale municipality and were beaten by some goons who also took away two organization laptops from them and warned them.
Agatha Asasira the Protection officer Assure Uganda says that ever Since the launch of youth for earth project many young environmental defenders have been in Kigezi severally harassed, intimidated and beaten but the public should know that environmental protection is every ones concern.
“These informal jobs that are they are doing for short term survival may lead to long term effect on the environment we call upon Authorities and public to join environmental defenders for ecological importance “. Said Asasira.
Assure Uganda a non-government organization advocating for environmental and climate justice in April 2021 launched a campaign in Kigezi ‘climate resilience network ‘that was aimed at fighting for the environment where they
Accused the Kabale municipality authorities for keeping a deaf ear and failing to close the washing bays adjacent to Kiruruma and Rwabakazi rivers.
Kiruruma River flows from Rubanda district through Kabale municipality and is joined by River Rwabakazi which flows from Katuna border.
The river then flows through the Maziba sub-county and act as a tributary of River Kagera in Rwanda.
In Kabale municipality, River Kiruruma accommodates three major washing bays at Rwakaraba along Kabale- Kisoro road in Northern division, Hakirindi valley in Mwanjari along Kabale-Katuna road and Nyakahita along Kabale-Katuna road in Southern Division.
River Rwabakazi also has Rushaki washing bay in Mwanjari ward southern division as the water used to wash vehicles drain back to the rivers yet it contaminated with oil, soap and other detergents that create water and environmental pollution.
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They add that the oils and detergents that drain back to the rivers are harmful to aquatic life. They said that since authorities are failing to act by closing the washing bays at river banks in Kabale municipality yet they are aware of negative environmental effects,