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Two Shot in Luweero as NFA Officials, Residents Clash over Forest Reserve

Violence erupted on Monday morning after residents attacked youths deployed by National Forestry Authority-NFA to clear gardens of residents to pave way for tree planting on the disputed land belonging to Mbale forest reserve.
Simon Ntalo a resident lying on bed at Luweero Health Center IV after she was shot over land wrangle

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The Police have shot and injured two people in renewed wrangle over Mbale forest reserve in Luweero district.

The victims have been identified as Simon Ntalo and Rose Nanyombi all residents of Yandwe trading in Butuntumula sub-county, Luweero district. They have been admitted at Luweero Health Center IV where they are undergoing treatment over bullet wounds.

Two other people identified as Wilson Kabira and Rogers Kiwanuka of Mbale village have been detained at Luweero Central Police Station.

Violence erupted on Monday morning after residents attacked youths deployed by National Forestry Authority-NFA to clear gardens of residents to pave way for tree planting on the disputed land belonging to Mbale forest reserve.

The armed youths backed by Policemen commanded by a sergeant identified only as Wabwire responded by chasing the residents who went into hiding into shops located at Yandwe trading centre.

Ntalo says that policemen shot and later stabbed him in the leg after he blocked them from entering his shop to search for the residents.

Cue in” Kakati bali …

Cue out;….kufuna bunjajabi”// Rosemary Nanyombi says that during the chaos she also sustained injuries on leg and was yet to get medication.

Nanyombi adds that her shop was vandalized and armed youths disappeared with two million shillings.

There are about 528 squatters occupying part of the 1,208 hectares of land belonging to Mbale Central forest reserve.NFA insists that these are encroachers who should vacate the land but residents insist they lawfully occupied it.

Beatrice Naluzze a resident says that she has lived on the land for past 90 years and is surprised to see the youths deployed by NFA clearing her plantations to plant trees without compensating her.

Stanley Kibalama another affected says that residents resorted to attack the youths to save their food crops which they were clearing. Kibalama says that residents resolved to resort to violence after line Minister failed to stop NFA officials from using Policemen to evict them unlawfully.

// Cue in: “Batusayidde emeere..

Cue out…edakiika ya leero”/

None of the NFA officials or the police who were deployed at the forest reserve were willing to comment.

Ronald Ndawula the LC 5 Chairman of Luweero district has condemned what he called Police brutality and accused NFA officials of selling land occupied by residents to an official in Ministry of Finance.

Ndawula added the residents petitioned Sam Cheptoris, the Water and Environment Minister but it's unfortunate for NFA officials to return with fire to force them off the land before the matter is resolved.

// Cue in: “But now they…

Cue out…get out of NRM”//

Luganda Byte

Cue in: ”Naye bbo…

Cue out…tujja bivaamu”//

The Anti-Riot Policemen commanded by Luweero District Police Commander Byaruhanga Mworozi  later rushed to the scene and calmed residents who wanted to protest again over the shooting of their colleagues.

Mworozi said that policemen engaged in the shooting will be arrested and charged after investigations.

// Cue in: “Naye ekibaddewo….

Cue out;…amazima galiwa”//

Sam Cheptoris, the Water and Environment Minister was unavailable to comment but earlier he had told the the residents to stop annexing forest land to their farmlands until the matter is resolved. 

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