Bunyoro Kingdom Launches Operation To Counter Bugoma Cultural Site Plundering

As the world continues to face pressure from the destruction of the environment and other natural resources, cultural sites have not been spared.

In 2016, Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom leased 22 square miles of Kyangwali ancestral land to Hoima Sugar to grow sugarcane but with a condition of preserving the cultural sites in the area.

In August 14, 2020, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) approved the Kyangwali mixed farm land project located on plot 216 block 2 Buhaguzi, Kyangwali sub-county, Kikuube district with a condition of preserving the fragile ecosystems and the cultural site.

Apollo Rwamparo, the second deputy prime minister and minister for tourism Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom says that it is unfortunate that the cultural site at Muhangaizima is being plundered by loggers and charcoal burners in broad daylight.

Rwamparo says that as a result of the vast destruction of the Kyangwali cultural site, the Kingdom has suspended all activities in the area and ordered all people to leave with immediate effect.

The minister for natural resources Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Jackson Byaruhanga says that some Kingdom officials are conniving to destroy the much treasured cultural site with support from Kikuube district local government.

As the team from the kingdom conducted the operation some people blocked the road leading to the epicenter of destruction so that they don’t impound their charcoal and timber.

However, some resident who asked to be recorded off camera says that some people claim that the forest that has remained behind after Hoima sugar cleared its part was given to them for fighting for the land.

Joseph Twegonze, a forester and formerly working with Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom explains that many valuable trees have been felled down for timber and charcoal including Wabugia Ugandaisis that was used to produce covidex.

Part of the 3 square kilometer Muhangaizima cultural site has been encroached on by both Hoima Sugar and already planted with sugar cane.

4 illegal power saws, pit swaying machines, charcoal and Timber were impounded by the Kingdom officials.

Meanwhile Rwamparo lashed at the ministry of lands which is currently opening up Bugoma central forest reserve boundaries who have decided to sideline the Kingdom in this important activity.

Although the latest forestry report indicates that forest cover in the country has increased from 8% to 12%, Bugoma central forest reserve has reduced in size from the usual 41,144 hectares to less than 37,000 hectares by 2019.

According to statistics from the Kikuube district physical planning unit, the 2019 report indicated that Bugoma forest had reduced by 11% due to increased pressure as a result of the influx of people due to the oil developments in the country.

Bugoma Forest reserve is one of the most important Forest reserves in Uganda and is home to over 34 species of mammals including 4 globally threatened mammal species of which 9 mammal species are listed under IUCN’s Red List.

There are 9 species of reptiles. There are also over 257 tree and shrub species including 7 species that are Albertine Rift endemics.

More than 12 tree species are globally threatened and 14 tree species are listed under IUCN’s Red List.

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