Government has embarked on the eviction of settlers from Lake Kyoga in Apac district. Captain Sam Mpaka, the head of eviction program says the exercise started on Thursday last week following the expiry of a week’s ultimatum given by government to the settlers to vacate the lake.
A Joint team comprising of the police and the army personnel is carrying out the evictions.
Captain Mpaka says three people have so far died while attempting to escape from security personnel by swimming across the lake. While addressing a joint press conference at LAMCO guest house in Apac town on Friday last week, Brigadier Sameul Kawagga, the 5th division Army Commander warned that they would move in to kick out the settlers if they refuse to move voluntarily.
Titus Byaruhanga told residents of Kayei and Apalamio landing site that, on Friday last week that the settlers had failed to abide with the terms and conditions set by government because some of them are criminals, adding that, they wouldn’t tolerate that nonsense. He said they would they move on to Maruzi ranch when they are done with the operation at Kamuli on Lake kyoga.
According to Byaruhanga, between 1000 and 1500 settlers occupy suds measuring 10 kilometers on the lake.
He said the settlers have been floating on the water without toilets or any sanitary facilities, which is a public health risk. According to Byaruhanga some of the settlers were picked up during the recent eviction exercise.
He identified the suspects as 81-year-old Mzee Komakech Yokayakimo 81 who settled on the suds in 1979 from Amuru district.
The others are Simon Magadi, Ronald Mafunda Ronald, Emmanuel Jero, all from Nakasongola and Freedy Avola, Ocipa Hosca and Walter Olwei from Pakwach.
AmlanTumusiime, the head of enforcement Lake Kyoga Northern A said some of the settlers are criminals who fled justice for their alleged involvement in criminal activities in their home areas.
He however, said the law had finally caught up with them since government was determined to evict them from the lake. He noted that some of the settlers had even gone to an extent of forming illegal camps on the suds.
Tumusiime also said they were surprised to notice that the settlers had gone as far as naming some suds in the lake with the different names such as USA, Tonny Blair, Corner Park, Afandes’ Camps, Gilli Ochola, Samba yaba Teso, PanaChoka, Giligenyi and Gili night.
John Bosco Omuut, the Deputy Apac Resident District Commissioner says the army will occupy the suds for sometimes while police will remain to patrol the lake.
He appealed to local politicians to desist from politicizing the programs since its intention are good for the country adding that most of the settlers are missing key government programs.
Richard Ogwang, the Apac Resident District Commissioner said the occupants were depleting the lake because of using unrecompensed gears.