KAMPALA - Over 647 pastoralists (Balaalo) who were, early this week, evicted from their homes in Buliisa District have petitioned Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni and other organizations to come to their rescue.
During a press conference held yesterday, Mukasa Lugalambi, the lawyer to the pastoralists, disclosed that some evictees are presumed to be dead, while others are hospitalized while the majority are scattered in different parts of the district with no shelter, food and other basic needs.
“We are appealing to President Museveni, Human rights organizations and other members of the civil society to stand up and challenge the inhuman and barbaric acts being carried out against innocent law-abiding Ugandans because our people are suffering,” said Lugalambi.
The evictions, according to the pastoralists, are being jointly carried out by the Ugandan army and police officers.
“We want government to stop soldiers from committing atrocities against innocent civilians” he told news reporters yesterday in Kampala.
Meanwhile, the coordinator of Ugandan security services, Gen David Tinyefunza yesterday said that the ruling by the High Court, blocking the evictions was of no consequence.
On Wednesday, the court issued an interim order blocking the evictions of the herdsmen, who are predominantly of the Banyarwanda tribe.
However, yesterday, Tinyefuza distributed parts of the land to the Bagungu, an act that surprised the evictees.
“We hear that Tinyefuza and his team yesterday distributed the land to Bagungu…we want to know what formula he used; there is no court order and no ruling that has ever been made by any court of law to evict our people from their homes,” the lawyer said.
He further refuted claims that these people (Balaalo) were from Rwanda and Karagwe (in Tanzania), adding that these are Ugandans who were born in Buliisa.
Banyarwanda are recognized in the Ugandan constitution as nationals.
The lawyer added that if there is no immediate provided, they will take the matter to International Criminal Court.
“Our people are missing, some are presumed dead while others were beaten, hoarded on trucks and taken to unknown destinations, these are crimes against humanity that can be petitioned to ICC,” he said.