Over 5000 Congolese who fled their country following tribal clashes, have been resettled in Kyangwali refugee resettlement camp in Hoima district in Western Uganda.

The tribal clashes between the Lendu and Bagegere in areas of Muvaramu, Gobu and Jo in Bunia district in Democratic Republic of Congo sparked off in mid-December last year forcing thousands, mostly women, children and elderly, into Uganda.

The Refugee Desk Officer in the Office of Prime Minister for Albertine Region, Emmanuel Turyagyenda, said refugees started fleeing in hundreds on December 19th through Lake Albert to Kondo and Sebigoro landing sites in Kabwoya Sub County in Hoima district.

“On the first day, we received over 200 and the number kept increasing. They were screened and taken to Kywangwali refugee camp. The number of people coming has, however, reduced because it seems the situation in DRC is getting back to normal. ”, Mr. Turyagyenda told Community Green radio at their Hoima regional office.

He said that with the help of United Nations High Commission for refugees (UNHCR), the refugees were provided with emergence first aid, shelter, food, clothes and care.

“The children were quickly immunized and women provided with pads and other basic requirements since they are vulnerable”, Mr. Turyagyenda explained.
Opio Vincent, the representative for Kabwoya Sub County in the Hoima District Council said called upon Ugandans to welcome the refugees with a humanitarian heart and report them to authorities as soon as they arrive.

Uganda has over 1.2 million refugees from DRC, Somalia, Burundi and South Sudan among others.

According to Turyagyenda, Kyangwali camp has over 400,000 refugees. He says Uganda has an open policy of receiving refugees. He says this is however increasingly exerting pressure on land which might be a challenge to the country in future.

“We shall end up being overburdened in terms of resources because of an open policy of receiving refugees. The policy says the refugees are supposed to be given land to cultivate and settle and then after 3 years they get deleted from the list of those being given food at the camp. When land is finished, I foresee a situation where there shall be a crisis because of the influx.”


Oil facility affected persons in Buliisa District vow to continue defying government over low compensation

About 811 residents of Kasinyi village in the oil rich Buliisa district in Western Uganda, affected by the crude oil Central Processing Facility (CPF), have vowed not to surrender their land unless Government increases compensation for their property to at least 6 million shillings (about 1500 dollars) per acre.

The government of Uganda has consistently insisted on paying an amount not beyond 2.1 million shillings (about 580 dollars) per acre.

In a meeting with Government ministers this month, the affected persons vehemently rejected government’s proposal to increase the compensation per acre to 3.5 million shillings (about 970 dollars).

At the meeting, that sat at Buliisa District local government headquarters and attended by over 300 Project Affected Persons (PAPs), the Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Betty Amongi issued a directive for CPF work to start mid-January despite protests from the affected persons.

Mr. Jealous Mugisa, the Chairperson PAPs- Resettlement planning committee believes Minister Amongi’s directive is not the answer to their pleas.

“We feel this command is militaristic not democratic. She says surveying must start immediately whether you agree with the 3.5 million or not.  I feel everything should be done in accordance with 1995 Ugandan Constitution”, Mr. Mugisa asserted while talking to Community Green radio.

We won't relent: One of the CPF affected persons in the oil rich Buliisa District Western Uganda. Residents are vowing never to leave until government pays what they term as 'appropriate compensation' for their property.

Article 26 of the Ugandan constitution which is again under threat, is explicit about the process of lawful land acquisition and provides for fair and adequate compensation to the relevant parties to ensure that citizens’ rights to property are not violated in the process.

“I cannot give my piece of land at 3.5 million shillings. My land is too big for a compensation of that amount.  I’m frustrated that am robed of my fertile land but I can’t also easily surrender the crops and other property unless they increase to 7 million”, vowed Ms. Teopista Atugonza another PAP of Kasinyi village.

NAPE has been working with in Buliisa district to empower them to fight or demand for their rights through Sustainability school programmes.

Late last year, community members of Ngwedo sub-county in Buliisa where the Central Processing Facility (CPF) is to be established were protesting against Government directive to Total E &P to start work.

Compiled by Dorcus Drijaru