Kikuube, Uganda: Three children belonging to families that were evicted from villages in Kyangwali have so far lost their lives at the office of the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner-RDC where their parents have pitched camp.
More than 60,000 people mainly women and children were evicted from the villages of Bukinda, Kavule, Bwizibwera, Kyeya, Nyaruhanga, Kabirizi, Nyamigisa, and Katoma, among others in Kasonga parish, Kyangwali sub-county in September 2013.
The 36-square kilometres of land in question is owned by the Office of the Prime Minister as part of the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement. After their eviction, the residents settled in camps in Kyeya village in Kyangwali sub-county where they have stayed to date.
Last year, about 1,000 of them pitched camp at the office of the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner Amlan Tumusiime, demanding his intervention to help them return to their land. Their push is based on a directive that was issued by President Yoweri Museveni in 2016 and repeated in 2018, to allow the affected persons to return to their ancestral land.
But Tumusiime told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Monday that the evictees continue to endure suffering with no food, water, shelter and appropriate medical services, among others. As a result, three of them have lost their children to illnesses like malaria and other common infections.
He says that three children died between June 2022 and February 2023, according to the RDC, and were buried in the areas of Kikuube, Kakumiro and Kagadi where the evictees have relatives. He however adds that his office is currently engaging the Office of the President to effect the resettlement.
Birungi Asiimwe, one of the affected persons says they have nowhere to go and asked the government to expedite the process of returning them to their land. Rose Ahebwa, another victim questions why the government has ignored their plight.
Kyangwali sub-county councilor Nestory Tumwesigye says it is unfortunate that the evictees have spent a year in the cold without any help.
In January, while commissioning the first oil drilling rigs in the Albertine’s Kingfisher area in Kikuube, President Yoweri Museveni directed the Kikuube Resident District commissioner-RDC to closely work with his office to ensure that the evictees are returned to their land.