Bubanza: five thousand households expropriated ask to be relocated

Bubanza: five thousand households expropriated ask to be relocated

More than 200 people went to the office of the governor of Bubanza province (Western Burundi) on Monday where they observed a sit-in. They asked the governor to defend their case after they were expropriated from their land, like more than 7,800 other inhabitants, for the benefit of the Mudubugu military camp. The administration promised them a relocation to the province of Rutana (South-Eastern Burundi). It has not been done. Four households have taken refuge in the Democratic Republic of Congo since six others have taken the direction of other localities of the country. These families are fleeing hunger because they no longer have land. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

All the households that had land properties close to the Mudubugu camp no longer have access to their land since August this year.

Camp officials have marked out 1,069 hectares of land. The owners were never compensated.

“I have been a widow for 23 years. It was my husband who settled me on this land. I cultivated it until the soldiers forbade me access to it. It was my only livelihood. I and my family risk starving to death if we are not allowed access,” complained Jeanette.

More than 200 people went to the provincial office in Bubanza on Monday to ask the governor to plead for them.

In all, 5,000 households with more than 8,000 people no longer have access to their fields. They don’t even have the right to harvest anymore.

“We want to be allowed to continue cultivating until the authorized services decide to say who owns this property”, suggests Pascal.

The military camp of Mudubugu extends on three communes. Those of Gihanga and Bubanza (province of Bubanza-west) as well as Buganda (province of Cibitoke in the northwest) with properties on seven hills.

The camp has a shooting range and an area for destroying used equipment.

In the 1980s, neighboring populations were compensated for the inconvenience caused and the administration had promised to find them land elsewhere.

“We had been promised land in Gihofi in the commune of Bukemba, Rutana province. But they never implemented this promise”, explains a resident.

The inhabitants continued to exploit their land except in the case of shooting exercises or the destruction of machinery to avoid accidents.

Consequences are observed

Six families have already fled Mudubugu, some have even stripped their houses to sell the sheets. Others have taken refuge in the DRC.

“Pupils no longer go to school. There is even a man who died of hunger. Children are begging around the camp. A pitiful situation,” according to the inhabitants of this locality of Mudubugu.

The governor of Bubanza promises to follow this case closely. The case was brought to the attention of the Burundian ombudsman. He has already arrived on the scene.

This is the second expropriation case that concerns several families in the province of Bubanza, after that of Muzinda in the commune of Rugazi where households are driven from the land without compensation.

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