By Mulengera Reporters
The Police in Kikuube is holding five people for allegedly forging the signature of Omukama Dr. Solomon Gafabusa Rukirabaisaija Iguru, the King of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom to grab 2,000 acres of land in Bugoma central forest reserve.
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The land located in Nyairongo village Kabwoya Sub County is part of the land that was leased to Hoima Sugar Limited for 99 years by the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom for sugar cane growing.
The suspects are Ramadhan Kisembo 31, Nathan Katwire 40, Atwali Ssebikaki 39, Vincent Muyanja 61, and Edward Kamanzi 33 all members of TULIPONA Veterans Association.
In October 2021, the suspects together with Gideon Tumwebaze, the chairperson of the TULIPONA veterans Association who is currently on the run allegedly connived and forged Omukama Iguru’s signature to grab the land.
Through Tumwebaze they reportedly presented a letter dated October 4, 2021, allegedly signed by Omukama Iguru and addressed to Florence Kiconco, the head of the legal department at State House indicating that Iguru had offered them land measuring 2,000 acres to utilize in Bugoma forest. Andrew Bytakutaga, the Prime Minister of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom instructed police to investigate the authors of the letter.
TULIPONA veterans’ association which is purported to have 500 members is accused of encroaching on part of the land which was leased to Hoima sugar limited for 99 years to grow sugarcane by the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.
The group claims that the land was offered to them by Omukama Iguru in 2000. Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region Police Spokesperson says that the suspects were arrested on Sunday within Bugoma Central Forest Reserve.
According to Hakiza, charges of forgery and encroachment on Bugoma forest have already been preferred against the suspects. He says police are currently hunting for Tumwebaze who is the prime suspect in the case. Hoima Sugar Limited leased close to 22 square miles of the contested Bugoma Central Forest reserve land from the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom for sugarcane growing for 99 years.
However, the National Environment Management Authority -NEMA found that 13 of the 22 square miles, were unfit for a sugar plantation and recommended their preservation since it’s a wetland and forest reserve.
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As a result, NEMA allowed the Hoima Sugar Factory to cultivate sugarcane on the remaining 9.24 square miles covering the grassland, establish an urban centre on 1.26 square miles, and an eco-tourism centre on 1.97 square miles and restore 3.13 square miles of the forest reserve. They also recommended the preservation of another 0.156 hectares for the cultural site and 6.17 square miles as a natural forest-URN. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org).