The Masindi High Court, yesterday, ordered the immediate halt of eviction of pastoralists from Buliisa District, Uganda.
The court ruling follows recent evictions of over 600 pastoralists from Buliisa district by Ugandan security officials.
“An interim order is hereby granted to restrain the respondents from evicting or occupying the suit land until the disposal of the main application,” the Masindi High Court Deputy Magistrate Margaret Mutonyi ruled
The predominantly Banyarwanda herdsmen, led by their Chairperson Grace Bwororoza, petitioned court seeking to know whether it was in order for the army and the police to evict them without a court order.
The court order will serve until March next year while the main hearing of both the applicants and the respondents is scheduled for 17 February next year.
It was all jubilations at the court as the pastoralists hugged their lawyer, Mukasa Rugalambi, and the UMUBANO Vice Chairman, Frank Rusanganwa, who assured them that they will are now free to return to their land with their cattle.
UMUBANO is a cultural association bringing together Banyarwanda in Uganda, and had, on behalf of the pastoralists, brought the issue of these evictions before the Uganda National Human Rights Commission.
“First I’m going to give a copy of this court order to the attorney General and all the security organs involved in this inhumane exercise. I will then ask the people to go back and occupy their land,” he told the pastoralists who included elderly people and young children.
The 30 square mile disputed Buliisa land is also inhabited by the indigenous Bagungu, the Alur and the Banyoro tribes.