Tibet Hima Mining Company moves to evict 600 people

Mine shaft leading to the copper ore in the foothills of Mountain Rwenzori
Mine shaft leading to the copper ore in the foothills of Mountain Rwenzori. Courtesy Photo.

Tibet Hima Mining Company has embarked on the process to reclaim part of its land occupied by 600 squatters. The squatters are said to have illegally opened up gardens on the eleven square kilometer land that was meant for a forest reserve.

The squatters have planted cassava, coffee, banana and other crops on the disputed land while others have set up illegal settlements in places such as Kanyaruboga, Kilembe and Kyanzuki hills.

James Musinguzi, the Environment Officer, Tibet Hima Mining Company, says the encroachers have tampered with the Eco-system since most of the trees around the hills have been destroyed.

According to Musinguzi, they had reserved the land for a forest reserve because there are underground tracks underneath it for transporting minerals. However, the encroachers have vowed not to move unless the company compensates them.

Lazeri Mbindulhe, one of the encroachers, says she has occupied the disputed land for more than 25 years. Lazeri acknowledges that fact that the land belongs to Tibet Hima Company she is skeptical that he will give it up without compensation.

Nehemiah Bwambale, another squatter says his family has occupied the mine land for the last 20 years and has nowhere to go. He wants government and Tibet Hima Company to consider compensating them before the eviction process can start.

Alex Kwatampora, the Hima Tibet Company Project manager, says they have undertaken all the necessary legal stems to evict the squatters. According to Kwatampora, they have served the squatters with eviction notices but none of them has moved.

Aminadabu Muhindo, the Deputy Kasese Resident Commissioner, who also happens to be among the squatters, says he wouldn’t be surprised of the eviction process since most of the residents are fully aware that the land belongs to Tibet Hima Mining Company.

– Uganda Radio Network