Close to 100 residents evicted from island

KARONGI - A total of 83 residents, were yesterday, evicted from Mbabara Island on Lake Kivu, by local authorities in Karongi district in part to protect the environment and conserve the natural water body.
Residents prepare to board awaiting boats upon eviction from the island yesterday (Photo S Nkurunziza)
Residents prepare to board awaiting boats upon eviction from the island yesterday (Photo S Nkurunziza)

KARONGI - A total of 83 residents, were yesterday, evicted from Mbabara Island on Lake Kivu, by local authorities in Karongi district in part to protect the environment and conserve the natural water body.

Authorities say that the move was also aimed at enabling the residents to get access to basic human needs such as health services, schools and access to clean water, in their new settlements set on the main  land.

While talking to The New Times the evictees said that the island has been lacking the basic amenities such as  a health centre or primary school which eventually made them to heed to the call to be resettled.

However , even after heeding to the call for eviction by authorities, the exercise reluctantly kicked off very early in the morning and dragged on until late in the afternoon due to resistance from some reluctant residents.

According to Sebastien Hakizimana, the district’s vice Mayor in charge of Economic development, the residents still have rights over their gardens but
will not be allowed to stay there because it poses a threat to the proper conservation of the water in Lake Kivu.

“You are allowed to till your gardens and make as many forms of meaningful livelihood you may wish apart from calling the island your home,” Hakizimana told the residents who were visibly angry at what they termed as ‘a forceful eviction’.

While unmoved by sentiments by some of the evictees, Hakizimana talked about some of the major challenges posed by continued human settlement in the island such as improper management of both human and animal waste disposal.

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