Chinese national injured in faceoff with land owner over exploration license

- blog, in the magazine, runner, top stories

A Chinese national is nursing injuries following a clash with a land owner in Omanye village, Tiira Town Council, Busia District.

The incident happened on Tuesday 7th June, 2022, when a local, Vincent Obila, found three Chinese nationals, accompanied by a local (translator) on his land where he had gone to harvest cassava.

Upon inquiring what they were doing on his land, an altercation ensued.

The strangers reportedly led him to their car, and as the translator took out documents that showed they had an exploration license over the land, one of the Chinese grabbed Obila by the neck.

The victim, who spoke to this publication, said he raised an alarm that attracted residents to the scene.

As locals besieged the group, Obila says one of the Chinese drew a pistol and fired in the air. Obila fled the scene and headed straight to the LCV chairperson, Steven Mugyenyi’s office.

The chairperson however was not in office and Obila decided to lay low till Monday 13th June, 2022 when the chairperson was available.

Obila says he was then accompanied by the chairperson to police where he filed a case of attempted murder (REF: 29/13/06/2022).

The Busia Resident District Commissioner (RDC) , Michael Kibwika, however reports that it was the locals who attacked first, prompting the Chinese to shoot in the air to disperse the crowd.

Both parties confirm that one Chinese national was badly injured and is currently nursing wounds at a hospital in Jinja.

Obila says that he was told by other community members how soldiers had arrived shortly after the altercation looking for him but they said they did not know him.

Kibwika the RDC however points out that the investors did not follow procedure.

“They were supposed to have gone with the Chief Administrative Officer to introduce them to the locals. That is how it is usually done,” he said.

Cases of land wrangles between investors and land owners have become common especially in Eastern Uganda as a result of bypassing local government leadership while going into communities unannounced.

An official from the Department of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM) says license holders are supposed to first seek permission from the land owners, sensitize them on what developments they intend to make on the land, and negotiate terms of compensation before any developments take place.

He emphasises that for mining leases, they have to sensitise land owners before a license is issued while for an exploration license, since the impact is not usually big, sensitization can be done after the license has been issued.


Read All Posts By MARTHA ACHOM