Amuru, Uganda | URN | Herdsmen have encroached on a significant portion of land belonging to Madhvani Sugar Factory in Amuru district. The land, measuring 10,000 hectares, covers Kololo, Omee, Pailyec, Lwak Obito, Lujoro, and Bana villages in Lakang sub-county, Amuru district.
In 2017, the government surveyed the land and compensated the original landowners to pave the way for the proposed plantation of sugarcane and the establishment of a sugar factory by Madhvani Sugar Factory. However, no development has taken place in the area since then, leaving it idle and vulnerable to occupation.
Currently, the land is being used for cattle grazing by herdsmen who are non-natives of the area. Anthony Akol, the Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) Chairperson, revealed that the herdsmen have taken over the land illegally, using it to graze thousands of cattle.
The MPs from Acholi, under Operation Harmony, are conducting fresh registration of the Balaalo herdsmen, but identifying those in Lakang has proven to be challenging.
Akol further stated that the herdsmen are also occupying ranches and forestry reserves in the Acholi and Lango sub-regions, and some have been spotted carrying firearms.
To address the situation, the verification exercise of the herdsmen has been extended by two weeks, starting from Monday 7, August 2023, with the final report to be presented to the Cabinet for necessary action.
Rev. Fr. Charles Onen, the MP for Gulu East in Gulu City, emphasized the need to gather evidence on the Balalo before making recommendations to the government for appropriate actions.
Simon Wokorach, the Aswa County Member of Parliament and General Secretary of APG, confirmed that the extension of the verification period was a decision reached by the MPs to address the issue effectively.