The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) army has occupied a portion of Sango bay, in Kakuuto county and established the 305th battalion.
According to Brig. Gen. Flavia Byekwaso, the army spokesperson, the battalion is simply meant to beef up security in Kyotera, Mutukula, Rakai and parts of Isingiro district which share a borderline with Tanzania.
Byekwaso noted that the establishment of the base has been going on since June this year. She adds that the establishment was followed by different community meetings to make people aware of the army’s presence and to understand their purpose in order to have close cooperation.
The community engagements were organised by Col. Bosco Olinawe, the Battalion commander and Maj. David Matovu, the Kyotera Resident District Commissioner (RDC).
She explains that the army has coexisted with people in every community they establish their bases. Byekwaso adds that people who have been accessing that land for firewood or to graze their livestock must be alerted to know where to stop.
According to Matovu, the army’s presence is to boost police’s operations at the complicated border and surrounding communities. He adds that the army deployment has helped to arrest people who enter the country illegally through porous borders and to combat cross-border crime.
He adds that majority of people who do not want to pay the Ugx 180,000 for a coronavirus (COVID-19) test at Mutukula immigration often use the porous borders, but now the army intercepts them. Apart from combating cross border crime, Matovu says that the battalion will help in containing political violence that may unfold ahead and during or after the 2021 elections.
Agnes Namusiitwa, the deputy district LC5 chairperson for Kyotera appealed to residents to be cooperative adding that the army base was established for the good of the people and the country at large.
Paul Mukisa, a resident of Sango bay parish says they have not encountered any problem since the presence of the army in the area. The army is occupying part of the land of Sango Bay Sugar Estates Limited.
The lease for Sango Bay Sugar Estates Limited expired in October 2019 and was not renewed over unknown reasons. However, the government took over the 20,000 hectares of land it has occupied for several years.
Uganda Radio Network (URN)