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2 Okt 2017

Frontline Defenders

Report alleges human rights defenders shot and wounded by Ferdsult Engineering Services guards

"Human Rights Defender James Rukanpana Shot by Armed Guards”

On 12 September 2017, human rights defender James Rukanpana was shot and severely wounded by armed guards believed to work for the company Ferdsult Engineering Services Limited, whose activities he and fellow human rights defenders have actively been campaigning against. On 12 September 2017, armed guards believed to have contracts with Ferdsult Engineering Services Limited harassed and chased away local community members who were using the lakes for fishing and collecting water. Such activities remain legal on the basis of a decision by the Magistrates Court of Fort Portal in June 2017. The armed guards entered James Rukanpana’s plantation which is located next to one of the crater lakes. James Rukanpana was targeted and shot by the guards in both legs. The human rights defender was then taken to a local hospital for treatment.

James Rukanpana has been actively involved in advocating for the rights of the local communities to access the crater lakes for water and domestic fishing. This has included participating in radio talk shows, and mobilising the local community who use the crater lakes to challenge actions of Ferdsult Engineering Services Limited in court. He also organised transport for community members to attend the court hearing in Fort Portal against Ferdsult Engineering Services Limited and the Kabarole District Local Government.

Part of the following timelines

Uganda: Human rights defender shot & wounded by suspected Ferdsult Engineering Services guards; company did not respond

Threats & attacks on rights groups and land & environmental defenders in Uganda