About 66 Rwandans claiming to have been evicted from Isingiro forest reserve in western Uganda have pitched camp at Matimba sector, Nyagatare district demanding land for resettlement.
They reportedly arrived in Rwanda through Kagitumba border post on separate occasions. Talking to The New Times, many of them claimed they were forcefully evicted by Uganda forest authorities for illegally settling on a forest reserve. They however complained that they were not given enough time to leave.
Authorities at Matimba sector said they have been receiving the returnees for the last three weeks. However, the district Mayor Robert Kashemeza said some of the returnees are dubious.
"There is no reality in their numbers. Many of them claim that they were evicted, however, it has already come to my notice that some are coming from far- off areas from Isingiro forest reserve," Kashemeza told The New Times.
Kashemeza said the district would screen and resettle the genuine returnees.
He explained that he had asked the evictees to go and temporarily settle with their relatives across the district pending their resettlement.
The Mayor observed that those falsely claiming to have been evicted were using the trick to benefit from the current land redistribution exercise in the province.
According to the Mayor, some among the group were crossing from other parts of Uganda and Tanzania.
He acknowledged that there were Rwandan cattle keepers who were evicted from Uganda forest reserve. But he advised Rwandans living in neighboring countries to freely return home without disguising themselves.
According to the returnees, the eviction affected both Ugandans of Rwanda origin and pastoralists from other parts of Uganda.