Returnee Pastoralists Evicted from Pian Upe Reserve

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In short
The pastoralists are accused of degrading the reserve and increasing pressure on the environment through high concentration of illegal human activities. Uganda wildlife authority says such activities endanger the wildlife ecosystem.

About 600 families have been evicted from Pian Upe game reserve in Amudat district where they settled eight years ago. The families comprising of mainly Pokot Agro-pastoralists were evicted by Uganda Wildlife Authority.

The pastoralists are accused of degrading the reserve and increasing pressure on the environment through high concentration of illegal human activities. Uganda wildlife authority says such activities endanger the wildlife ecosystem.

Pokot tribesmen were first evicted from the area when the conflicts in Karamoja heightened in the early 80's. Many fled to Kenya but returned to their cradle land with the pacification of Karamoja.

The 4,000-strong Pokot returnee community was last month instructed not carry on with cultivation and building new huts in the reserve, in anticipation for the eviction.

Steven Nsubuga Bewaayo, the Resident District Commissioner of Amudat said that the wildlife staff have now burnt some of the houses in the Reserve, destroyed food granaries and chased children from a school being constructed by the Save the children-under the Alternative Basic Education Programme.

But a Uganda Radio Network Reporter in Moroto says that hundreds of them have resisted the directive, an issue that may cause a stand-off between the community and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

Efforts to talk to James Okware, the in-charge Bokora- Matheniko-Upe game reserve located in Karamoja are still futile. 

 

About the author

Olandason Wanyama
Olandason Wanyama is the Karamoja region bureau chief. Amudat, Nakapiripirit, Moroto, Abim, Kotido and Kaabong districts fall under his docket. Wanyama has been a URN staff member since 2012.

The former teacher boasts of 20 years journalism experience. Wanyama started out as a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor newspaper in 1991 in Entebbe. Wanyama also wrote for the army publication Tarehe Sita, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) magazine and The New Vision. While not on the beat, Wanyama taught child soldiers at Uganda Airforce School-Katabi.

Wanyama is very interested in conflict reporting, climate change, education, health and business reporting. He is also an avid photographic chronicler of vanishing tribal life in the East African region.