The Government has embarked on the second phase of evicting pastoralists from community land in districts in Acholi, Lango and parts of West Nile sub-regions.
This follows the expiry of the first phase of the eviction exercise launched on January 14, 2022, targeting pastoralists illegally occupying government land in Nwoya, Amuru, Apac, and Pader Districts.
The State Minister for Internal Affairs Gen. David Muhoozi, on Friday, flagged off the eviction operation code-named “Lainisha Kilimo Na Mifugo” that will last for one month.
Addressing security officers at a review meeting for the ongoing eviction operations at the Fourth Infantry Division Headquarters in Gulu City, Gen Muhoozi, said the operation is expected to clear the region of defiant pastoralists.
Gen. Muhoozi told the officers, who comprised military, police, District Internal Security Officers, and Resident District Commissioners to conduct the operation smoothly and in accordance with the law.
He also called on the pastoralists who fled from government land into the community to exercise self-censor and voluntarily leave the region.
At the review meeting, senior Commissioner of Police, James Ocaya, the acting director of Research and planning noted that the first phase of the eviction registered success albeit with some challenges.
He said that 2,264 cattle have since the launch of the exercise left the region out of which 308 were from Maruzi ranch in Apac District and256 from Lakang in Amuru District.
Ocaya however says that the team conducting the eviction faced hurdles in Got Apwoyo Government Farm in Nwoya District where some pastoralists claimed ownership of part of the 10 square miles of land.
Brig. Geoffrey Kigozi, the outgoing Zone A commander, who has been overseeing the eviction in Amuru District, says despite the fact that all pastoralists left the government land in Lakang, the majority of them are still in the neighbouring villages.
Brig. Kigozi says an estimated 5,000 animals were being grazed in Lakang Subcounty by the pastoralists. He says the pastoralists are hardly seen during daytime but intelligence reports they have gathered indicate that they always return at night to graze their cattle.
According to Brig. Kigozi, there is a need to have permanent security personnel comprising the army and police to help patrol the area and ensure that all non-compliant pastoralists leave the area.
In Maruzi ranch in Apac District, a total of 7,000 head of cattle were estimated to have been kept and grazed for fattening by pastoralists.
But according to Assistant Superintendent of Police, Denis Namuwoza who is overseeing evictions in Lango and Teso Sub-regions, the majority of the pastoralists have vacated the area with a few left and still claiming ownership. He says 529 cattle have so far been driven out while 279 were sold locally for slaughter.
Amuru Resident District Commissioner, Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, says that the second phase of the operation will help them to unearth pastoralists who are trying to evade the eviction and are hiding in the community.
Oceng however says the inadequate fuel facilitation worth Shillings 300,000 from the government towards the implementation of the eviction is challenging.
Stephen Odong Latek, the Gulu Resident District Commissioner, says that they will embark on verification of the pastoralists to ensure that they have met all the conditions set by the president. According to Latek, those who haven’t met the requirements of fencing, providing water, showing proof of land ownership will be asked to voluntarily leave before being forced out.
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