ISINGIRO. Security officials in Rwizi region have warned the Isingiro District LC5 chairperson, Mr Jeremiah Kamurari, against enforcing his planned operation code- named; ‘Operation Nakivale Nziima’ where residents are being rallied to fight refugee encroachment in the district.
Police, UPDF and officials from Office of the Prime Minister during security meeting at Kitazya Market in Kashumba Sub-county last Saturday, told residents that the operation is in bad faith and could result into bloodshed.
The meeting followed radio announcements by Mr Kamurari rallying locals to join the operation scheduled for February 10, aimed at erecting boundaries separating Nakivale Refugee Resettlement land from that of the residents.
He argued that the residents have suffered a lot because of refugees’ encroachment on their land.
Rwizi region police commander, Mr Robert Walugembe, told the meeting that the Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Mr Hilary Onek, has already instructed security in the region to foil the operation.
He warned residents that they could face severe consequences if they participated in the operation.
The minister on January 31 wrote to Mr Kamurari instructing that should he continue with the operation, he will be arrested and prosecuted.
“Please take note that whatever you intend to do, if it’s true, it is illegal and should you make any attempt to enter Nakivale with such intention you will be apprehended and prosecuted…” the letter reads in part.
Mr John Bosco Sentamu, the camp commandant, said the district chairman is aiding encroachers to take over government land.
“These are just encroachers bringing confusion. They know where our boundaries pass, we have mark stones there, the last time we did this was in 2005,” he said.
Mr Kamurari, however, told the meeting that unless there is a meaningful dialogue, the operation will go on. “This confusion has dragged on for years and we cannot wait longer. The operation will go on if am to die I will die for my people. Let the minister come on ground, involve stakeholders to solve this conflict instead of issuing threatening orders from his office in Kampala,” Mr Kamurari said.
He added: “Locals bordering the refugees cannot carry out any viable economic activity, they plant crops today, the next day they are evicted; they bury their loved ones, bodies are exhumed that they were buried in refugee land. We want this misunderstanding and conflicts to be resolved completely and the only way is to have clear boundaries which we are going to do ourselves.”
Mr Mathias Tushabomwe, the Rugaga Sub-county LC 3 chairperson, said they only saw officials guarded by police putting up mark stones and they were never consulted or informed about the decision.
“The law is clear on land surveying and getting a title that you involve neighbours, who did these people involve, our land was encroached on, and we don’t recognise what they did,” Mr Tushabomwe said.