Residents, police clash over Nakivale land


ISINGIRO. Police on Wednesday clashed with residents of Isingiro District who are claiming part of Nakivale Refugee Resettlement camp land over arrest of their colleagues.
More than 300 residents from sub-counties of Rushasha, Rugaga, Kashumba, Ngamara and Kabingo Town Council blocked Kabingo-Rugaaga road adjacent to the camp main offices.
The angry residents also pulled down about 10 signposts of agencies and non-governmental organisations operating in the refugee community.
The district chairperson, Mr Jeremiah Kamurari, last week announced an operation led by residents code named ‘Operation Nakivale Nziima’ aimed at establishing the right boundaries separating Nakivale Refugee Resettlement Camp land from that of the natives.
Radio announcements were made rallying locals to join the operation that was to begin on February 10.
During the security meeting chaired by the Rwizi region police commander, Mr Robert Walugembe, in Kashumba Sub-county last Saturday, Mr Kamurari insisted that they would go on with the operation despite warnings from the minister for Disaster Preparednes, Mr Hilary Onek, against the move.
“Residents bordering the refugees cannot carry out any viable economic activity, they plant crops today, the next day they are evicted. We want this misunderstanding to be resolved completely and the only way is to have clear boundaries which we are put ourselves,” Mr Kamurari told the meeting.
The aggrieved residents have established from village to sub county level the leadership for the operation earlier scheduled to begin Friday.
However, police on Tuesday during its night operation arrested the ring leaders, triggering off protests.
Police fired bullets and teargas to stop protestors.
Some of the residents were arrested while others ran to the nearby hills where they were still camped by press time.
The camp commandant, Mr John Bosco Sentamu, said they got intelligence information that the locals together with Mr Kamurari had re-strategised and rescheduled the operation to Wednesday.
“The residents were supposed to begin assembling between 2am and 4am, and start the operation; that’s why we started arresting leaders,” Mr Sentamu said on Wednesday.
He added: “We have engaged the district chairperson, Mr Jeremiah Kamurari, who is behind this to stop inciting people but he has refused, he is our main suspect and we are looking for him,” Mr Walugembe said.
However, when contacted, Mr Kamurari who is said to be in hiding could not answer our repeated calls.

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