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25 Mär 2024

Just Finance International

Uganda: Oil operations in Kingfisher area allegedly accompanied by forced evictions and military abuse of local communities

"Mass arrests and forced evictions reported as Chinese state oil major expands in Uganda" 25 March 2024

The expanding oil operations of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), a Chinese parastatal company, in Uganda’s Kingfisher Development Area, have been accompanied by intensifying abuse of the local communities. During one recent field visit, Just Finance International was told by community members that soldiers from the Uganda People Defence Force (UPDF) have forcefully evicted families from their homes in several villages...

Witness testimonies from the community describe nearly daily assaults by the occupying soldiers. Fishermen who tried to resist say they have been attacked with sticks, and in some cases even been beaten until they lost consciousness...Women interviewed by JFI recalled witnessing incidents of sexual abuse by the occupying soldiers...Some of these women are reportedly under 18 years old...

When JFI visited the area in February, over 28 people had been held in custody since January...When JFI visited the area in February, over 28 people had been held in custody since January...many detainees had no access to food in their cells...

The military’s intensifying harassment, detentions, and disruptions have pushed many community members to leave their generational homes in search for a more stable life elsewhere. Among those who remain, some have had to accept unpredictable day labor opportunities from CNOOC, even as they say the wages are too low to support a family.

Representatives from the community have attempted to contact CNOOC to share their grievances. The company has responded to community complaints with repeated pledges of change, yet there has been nothing to show for it, according to the community representative​​s...