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Pipeline Affected Persons in Kyotera Protest Arrest of Leader

Richard Birimuye Ssekyondwa was arrested on Friday on the orders of the District Police Commander-Hassan Hiwumbire, for allegedly sabotaging government projects.
Robert Birimuye Ssekyondwa.

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People affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOPE) project in Kyotera District have protested the arrest of their leader.

Richard Birimuye Ssekyondwa was arrested on Friday on the orders of the District Police Commander-Hassan Hiwumbire, for allegedly sabotaging government projects. His arrest comes at the time when several PAPs are protesting irregularities and human rights violations surrounding the oil pipeline project.

On Thursday, the Project Affected Persons-PAPs disregarded the Bank Account Opening conducted by Centenary Bank.   Led by Ssekyondwa, the PAPs refused to sign the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) forms and snubbed the account opening process until the Chief Government Valuer and the District leaders intervene to address their compensation concerns.   

Total Uganda entered a partnership with Centenary Bank to help the PAPs open up accounts through, which they would receive their compensation.

But Patrick Kintu Kisekulo, the Kyotera LCV Chairperson and other local leaders rallied the PAPs not to open the accounts before the compensation issues are resolved.  However, the PAPs and different Civil Society Organisations want an explanation why Ssekyondwa was arrested in addition to demanding his immediate release.  

According to Ssekyondwa, his arrest will not derail his efforts to pursue fair compensation rates and protect the right of the PAPs.  He further declined to make a statement in absence of his lawyer.   

According to Yisito Muddu Kayinga, Coordinator – Community Transformation Foundation Network, they will work together with other CSOs to support Birimuye.

//Cue in: “Nga abalwanirizi…

Cue out: “…ku batulugunya.”//     

He appealed to the Uganda Human Rights Commission to intervene in the matter since it has been documenting different queries raised by the PAPs.  

//Cue in “Awo wagulu…  Cue out: “…nga mbirese,”//       

But Muhammad Nsubuga, the Southern Regional Police spokesperson, Ssekyondwa was arrested for sabotaging the Parish model program. He adds that Ssekyondwa blocked Hajji Moses Ddumba, the Kyotera Resident District Commissioner, and his team from sensitizing Nakatoogo residents about the program.

He alleges that Ssekyondwa incited residents to boycott the program.

On Thursday, the District Security Committees and District Land board Officials from Lwengo, Rakai, Sembaule and Kyotera met in Masaka City to iron out the longstanding queries surrounding the compensation of the PAPs.

Human rights violations and intimidation of the PAPs were among the concerns in addition to the valuation inconsistencies and poor information flow.

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