Kingdom Loyalists Block Bugoma Forest Conservation Walk

3334 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
The six-kilometer walk, from Nsozi to Kyangwali Sub County headquarters, was aimed at raising community awareness on the need to conserve Bugoma, a protected tropical forest southwest of Hoima district in Bunyoro sub region.

Bunyoro Kingdom loyalists have blocked a planned walk organized by ecologists under the umbrella, Association for the Conservation of Bugoma Forest.

The six-kilometer walk, from Nsozi to Kyangwali Sub County headquarters, was aimed at raising community awareness on the need to conserve Bugoma, a protected tropical forest southwest of Hoima district in Bunyoro sub region.

The walk, which was planned to take place yesterday, brought together individuals and organizations like Uganda Jungle Lodges, Association of Uganda Tour Operators and Uganda Wildlife Society, among others.

However, about 200 Kingdom loyalists led by one Yabezi Kaguna Kabona accused the organizers of plotting to grab Bunyoro Kingdom land.  The group armed with machetes, clubs, spears and arrows camped at Nsozi village and barricaded the road to block processions by ecologists.

The protesters, among them men, women and children held placards in praise of Bunyoro Kingdom and others accusing National Forestry Authority (NFA) of depleting the forest, instead of protecting it.

Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and National Forestry Authority have for several years bickered over Muhangaizima land, which is adjacent to Bugoma forest reserve in Kyangwali Sub County.  While NFA claims the area is part of the forest reserve, the Kingdom insists the area is outside the reserve and it belongs to the cultural institution.

Kabona says they received information that the conservationists plan to turn the Kingdom land in Muhangaizima, into a chimpanzee conservation area.
 
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Following the impasse, Hoima Deputy Resident District Commissioner Ambrose Mwesigye advised the group to call off the walk saying their security had been compromised.
 
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But Constantino Tessarin, the Treasurer, Association of Uganda Tour Operators, one of the organizers of the walk, described the blockage as an act of sabotage.  He questioned why they were not instead provided with security.
 
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