UNHCR, Sebigoro Residents in Land Grabbing Row

1235 Views Kikube, Uganda

In short
The residents are questioning circumstances under which UNHCR acquired the 1-acre piece of land where it intends to set up a permanent reception center for refugees. Nkondo Parish Chairperson Peter Kyasimiire alleges that UNHCR acquired the land without the consent of the community members and the area leaders.

A row has erupted between residents of Sebigoro landing site in Kabwoya Sub County, Kikuube district and the United Nations High Commission for refugees-UNHCR over alleged land grabbing.

The residents are questioning circumstances under which UNHCR acquired the 1-acre piece of land where it intends to set up a permanent reception center for refugees.  Nkondo Parish Chairperson Peter Kyasimiire alleges that UNHCR acquired the land without the consent of the community members and the area leaders.

The current Refugee Reception Center at is housed in a facility belonging to Sebigoro Beach Management Unit-BMU. It was handed over to UNHCR after a huge influx of Congolese refugees fleeing tribal Clashes between the Lendu and the Bagegere in Ituri province, Eastern DRC last year.

However, UNHCR intends to construct a new center a distance of one kilometer away from the land site. But, according to Kyasimiire, the proposal is also meeting resistance from the community, saying that a reception centre within the community puts their lives at risk.
 
//Cue in; "Abataka ba kyangire…
Cue out…tunda sebigoro yona."//
 
Hamis Okot, another resident, questions the manner in which UNHCR acquired the community land after abandoning another site, which was offered to the organisation in an isolated place early last year.

He says a reception center should not be established in the middle of the community but rather in an isolated place to avoid the risk of contracting diseases that could spread out as a result of the influx of refugees.
 
//Cue in; "Kitu ya Kwanza…
Cue out…sisi wanye inci."//
 
Another resident Juliet Karungi says the site of the planned reception center is not ideal because it is adjacent to a market.
 
//Cue in; "Ekintu eki kwatangaine…
Cue out…Tukalire Kunu eruguru."//

 However, Kabwoya Sub County Chairman Stephen Buryahika says the Sub County leased out the land to UNHCR for a period of 20 Years. He says that the two entities signed a Memorandum of Understanding through which UNHCR will construct the 5-kilometre road from Sebigoro-Nyawaiga to Nkondo and 20 police houses among others.

He adds that the land in question is owned by the government and not the community.

//Cue in; "It is a…
Cue out…Nyawaiga 5Km."//