Fourth Kyangwali Infant Evictee Dies, Internal Refugees Stuck with Body
The more than 1,000 families that have pitched camp at the office of the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner-RDC Amlan Tumusiime after being brutally evicted from their ancestral land in Kyangwali sub-county are stuck with the body of a three-year-old girl. She is the fourth to die in the hazardous unsheltered conditions they have lived in for several months.
The deceased is Fortunate Amutuhaire, daughter of Scola Timwesigye. She died at Kikuube health centre IV where she had been rushed for medication.
Tumwesigye, the deceased’s mother told Uganda Radio Network that the child developed malaria and diarrhoea last week. She had no money to take the child for medication. On Sunday, the child’s condition worsened and she died on Monday morning.
She currently has nowhere to go with the dead child now that they have been evicted from their ancestral land.
Jackson Turyahebwa, an uncle to the deceased who is also settling at the office of the RDC says the child’s condition deteriorated over the weekend. They later rushed her to Kikuube health centre IV where she died on Monday morning.
He says they are currently stuck with the dead body since they have nowhere to go.
Julius Twinomugisha, the head of evictees who have camped at the Kikuube RDC’s office says currently they are speechless and do not know where the child will be buried. He says the deceased could have developed malaria due to sleeping out in the cold adding that the situation is made worse following the return of rainfall.
He appeals to the government to allow them to take the body to Bukinda where they were evicted from and bury the child there since they don’t have any other option.
Alice Nyirarukundo also an evictee says, they have nowhere to go and asked the government to expedite the process of returning them to their land. She says they are enduring a lot of suffering with no food, water, shelter or appropriate medical services, among others.
Nestory Tumwesigye, the Kyangwali sub-county LCV Councilor wonders why the government has kept a deaf ear despite several calls to have the evictees resettled on their land.
Peter Banura, the Kikuube LCV Chairperson says the current status in which the evictees are living is appalling. He says as district leaders, they have tried all they can to have the evictees resettled on their ancestral land but the government is yet to act.
He appeals to the government to immediately look into the issues of the exact ownership of the land and come up with a lasting solution so that the evictees can be relieved of the untold suffering they are undergoing.
This is the fourth child to die from the office of the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner-RDC where their parents have pitched camp.
Three of the children died between June 2022 and February 2023 and were buried in the areas of Kikuube, Kakumiro and Kagadi where the evictees have relatives.
In September 2013, more than 60,000 people mainly women and children were evicted from their ancestral land in the villages of Bukinda, Kavule, Bwizibwera, Kyeya, Nyaruhanga, Kabirizi, Nyamigisa, and Katoma, among others in Kasonga parish, Kyangwali sub-county.
The 36-square kilometres of land in question is owned by the Office of the Prime Minister as part of the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement. After their eviction, the residents settled in camps in Kyeya village in Kyangwali sub-county.
Last year, about 1,000 of them pitched camp at the office of the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner Amlan Tumusiime, demanding his intervention to help them return to their land.
Their push is based on a directive that was issued by President Yoweri Museveni in 2016 and repeated in 2018, to allow the affected persons to return to their ancestral land but the presidential directive is yet to be implemented.
In January this year, while commissioning the first oil drilling rigs in the Albertine’s Kingfisher area in Kikuube, President Yoweri Museveni directed the Kikuube Resident District commissioner-RDC to closely work with his office to ensure that the evictees are returned to their land.
Story written by Okello Emmanuel for URN