Thursday, June 13th, 2024 | By

The Executive Director of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Frank Muramuzi has expressed dismay over the kidnap of human rights activist, Stephen Kwikiriza, a resident of Nsunzu village, Buhuka parish Kyangwali Sub County in Kikuube district.

Kwikiriza, a member of Kingfisher Community that hosts Kingfisher oil fields developed by Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), was kidnapped in Kampala on June 4th under unknown circumstances only to be found abandoned on the road side in Kyenjojo district on June 9th in bad health after enduring beatings, mistreatment and abuse throughout the week.

Muramuzi looks at the abduction of Kwikiriza as a revenge for speaking out against human rights abuses due to the Kingfisher project.

Muramuzi believes that oil companies and government security organs have a hand in Kwikiriza’s kidnap since he had previously received threats from Uganda People’s Defense Forces deployed in Kingfisher.

Muramuzi is calling for accountability from all those involved in the kidnap of Kwikiriza.

“What kind of country is this where citizens are abused in broad day light by foreign corporates in the name of mining Oil and stealing their land and you expect these oil host communities to just look on?  Stand warned and know that People don’t eat your oil. You found them living ppeaceful sustainable lives without your oil and the time is ripe for you to pack your bags and take back these evils to your homes,” noted Muramuzi.

Muramuzi expressed disappointment that it’s only in Uganda where citizens live in displaced peoples’ camps even when there is no war.

“Let these stop otherwise, enough is enough! We shall follow oil companies even to their own home governments so that they pay for the evils they have inflicted on oil host communities. Total Energies, the French Oil giant and CNOOC backed by security agencies and land speculators are grabbing peoples land, displacing thousands, degrading key ecosystem resources and abusing their rights through kidnaps and illegal arrests but they want affected communities to sit and watch!” added Muramuzi.

He said Oil and gas, wherever it has been exploited, has left host communities in tears giving examples of host communities now in the Albertine Oil rift, communities along the East African Crude Oil people (EACOP), communities in the Lake Turkana Oil belt of Kenya, communities in the Niger state of Nigeria, communities in the Amazon –Ecuador, communities in South Sudan, Sudan, Libya and Ghana among others.

He said extractive industry is irrelevant in the current age of worsening climate change and that it should be fought at all cost not only by civil society but every citizen in the country.

The abduction of Kwikiriza is in addition to other patterns of arbitrary arrests against environmental and human rights activists speaking out against human rights abuses and threats to the environment due to oil projects in Uganda.

On May 27this year, eight ‘STOP EACOP’ activists were arrested outside Chinese Embassy in Kampala for holding a peaceful demonstration calling on China to stop plans to support East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).