Uganda: Columnist says local communities violently evicted for petroleum waste water facility construction; McAlester Energy Resources responds
Columnist says alleges McAlester Energy Resources' involvement in violent evictions in Uganda's oil-rich Albertine region, in connection with a planned petroleum waste water facility. We invited McAlester Energy Resources to respond. The response is provided below.
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Author: Shifa Mwesigye, in Oil in Uganda
"Hoima evictions: One woman’s horror" 1 October 2014
Ngonzebwa is one of the more than 200 families in Rwamutonga village, Hoima District, who were left homeless when unidentified men, reportedly acting on the orders of a business man called Joshua Tibangwa stormed the area and brutally evicted them from their land...She was in the kitchen preparing her breakfast when suddenly, she heard the sound of bullets and commotion outside...A very afraid Ngonzebwa raced back into the house, and crawled under her bed for cover. Even when the sound of bullets progressively drew nearer, it never dawned on her that her house was one of the targets. In fact when she heard a loud bang outside, she thought someone was attempting to steal the breakfast she had abandoned in the kitchen...The destruction did not just stop with the house. Her garden of maize and cassava was slashed to the ground. Her banana stems were also cut down, potatoes uprooted and her dried maize and beans burnt. Even her goats were looted. This was also the fate of all the other families in the village. The land, totalling 485 hectares, is being claimed by Mr. Tibangwa who intends to lease it to McAlester Energy Resources Limited, to construct a waste management facility.
Author: Lizabeth Paulat, in Voice of America
"Land Eviction Breeds Violence in Oil-Rich Hoima, Uganda" 24 September 2014
Land disputes in western Uganda's Lake Albertine region have become common in recent years...In a small village outside Hoima, known as Rwamutonga, more than 700 residents are crowded onto a small scrap of land. They say they have been unfairly evicted and brutalized after a land dispute with their neighbor, Joshua Tibagwa...Tibagwa's land has attracted the interest of McAlester Energy Resources, an American company from Texas. He says the company fronted him money to secure the land so it can be used for a petroleum waste water facility...Residents say they awoke to a hail of bullets and teargas on August 25th, followed by the burning and looting of their homes. The residents fled to the bush to escape. During the chaos they say three children went missing and are presumed dead...Two displaced women say they have been raped. One...describes what happened when she went back to pick cassava from her old garden. "The guards detained me when I was trying to get some fresh cassava. Four men pushed me to the ground and raped me. I did report it to the police, but could not afford to get treated by a doctor," she said. At the police station in nearby Katanga, there is a notation in the official logbook that a woman came in to report the rape, but her file could not be found.