Rwandans accused of encroaching on Ugandan Forest Reserve

RUBANDA: Residents neighboring Echuya Central Forest Reserve in Bufundi Sub County Rubanda District South Western Uganda are accusing Rwandese nationals of encroaching on the forest reserve.

Echuya Central Forest Reserve is situated in Rubanda District and in Bufumbira County in Kisoro District that border Rwanda. Residents claim that Rwandese nationals always cross into Uganda and mine the fertile soils from the forest reserve to their country, while others graze their animals the forest reserve.

The Kashaasha Parish LC2 Chairperson in Bufundi Sub County, Willy Rwomushana, and Pafra Tamusore, also accuse the group deployed by National Forest Authority-NFA to patrol the forest reserve, of receiving bribes from Rwandese to let them into the forest reserve.

The Rubanda District Chairperson, Keneth Jogo Biryabarema, says the district is aware of the residnets’ concern, adding they have ordered the Officer in Charge of Butanda Police Post to arrest whoever will be found trying to deplete the forest.

The NFA Supervisor In charge of Echuya, Herbert Turyahabwa, admits that there is this challenge, but blames it on understaffing of the authority. He however says that Nature Uganda-NU, which is mandated to protect the forest reserve, has promised to handle the matter.

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