We shall Kill them: Atacama and Total threatens to kill the publishers of Albertine Watch

The Albertine Watch activists are receiving multiple death threats from the major multinational Oil Giant Total and Atacama Consulting, a local company that belongs to the daughter of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

The threats against the Albertine Watch activists are in response to an article published in regards to the Total and Atacama violation of human rights of the local community in Ngwedu sub-county in Buliisa district.

The Albertine Watch is informed that the Atacama and Total are searching for the activists behind the platform www.albertinewatchdog.org with the intention of causing harm to the lives of the activists behind the Albertine Watch.

These two companies are threatening to kill activists who will be identified to belong to Albertine Watch.

The Albertine Watch is informing the International community and the national human rights bodies in Uganda that the lives of its staff are in danger because of the threats coming from the Total and Atacama. The Albertine Watch has been told that the life of its key staff will be in danger if they don’t back off their publication or they will be killed if they continue to question the legality of the activities of the Atacama and Total Oil projects in Buliisa district.

The Albertine Watch is a grass root based activism platform that works with the communities from the various villages in the Albertine region of Uganda that have been impacted by the negative effects of Oil and gas exploration activities being done on their territories by the two major international Oil Companies Total, CNOOC and with support from the Government of Uganda and Atacama Consulting, a company that is owned by the daughter of president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

The Albertine Watch activists have been working with these communities for the past 3 years to oppose the destruction of community land, river, lakes, and forests which are the life support systems of these communities.

According to the information received by the Albertine Watch, its well-known that the two companies Total and Atacama would like to kill the activists behind the Albertine Watch platform.

Its believed that the Albertine Watch is being targeted by these companies because of its campaign against Oil extraction projects that according to the Albertine Watch would threaten the livelihood and environment of communities in the Albertine region of Uganda and in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

Total and Atacama must acknowledge the importance of the work that activists including those who work to defend the land and the environment can contribute to. Total and Atacama as well as the CNOOC should not only drill Oil, but should also consider protecting the human rights of local communities.

The Albertine Watch defend human rights, the rights to the land of local communities. The Albertine Watch is determined to confront the activities of Total and Atacama regarding Oil exploration and production. The wish and need for Albertine Watch are for the Atacama and Total to respect the community’s rights. The Albertine Watch do not want to see people being killed and assassinated because of their defense of their territories.

Total and Atacama should stop forcing communities in Buliisa and other places to sell their land to make way for the various Oil well pads and the central processing facilities.

The Albertine Watch will continue to support communities to file formal complaints against the Total and Atacama, the two companies accused of violation of human rights of communities in Ngwedu, Buliisa district.

The Albertine Watch is aware that activism in defense of land rights of communities in Buliisa district has become risky and very dangerous recently. We are informed that since 2017, approximately 10 farmers and pastoralists have been killed in Buliisa related to their works of defending their land from being stolen by the Total and Atacama.

The Albertine Watch is deeply concerned of this human rights abuse and extrajudicial killings taking place in Buliisa district. But the Albertine Watch shall not keep quite over this abuses of human rights.

Although the Atacama and Total, the companies responsible for the establishment of the Central processing facilities in Ngwedu sub county, Buliisa district feel that they have been granted permission by the National Environmental Management Authority of Uganda to drill and explore Oil in and within Murchison Falls National Park and lake Albert, it should be noted that their activities are illegal because the communities have not agreed for them to drill and explore oil in their territories.

The people of Ngwedu told the Albertine Watch that they fear that their lands will be degraded and also they fear for their trees, rivers all being destroyed as a result of the irresponsible drilling and exploration activities of Total and the Atacama consulting.

The Total and Atacama are determined to retaliate against villagers and pastoralists in Buliisa district.

It’s well know that Total and Atacama are designing new tactics to attack the Albertine Watch and the community members who critics their activities.

Instead of seeking legal remedy related to their actions in Ngwedu, Atacama and Total are naming land rights activists and human rights defenders as terrorists trying to sabotage and set fire on their camps.

Atacama and Total should note that the Albertine Watch is playing an important role in promoting human rights, protecting land rights vital to food security of communities in the Albertine region of Uganda.

The Albertine Watch is not afraid of President Museveni granting of unlimited rights to Total and the Atacama consulting to violate human rights of communities, grab their lands and rape the women and children of project affected persons.

The activities of Total and Atacama on communities’ lands in Ngwedu is an example of threats to human rights activists and land rights defender’s efforts to challenges corporate impunity and abuses.

Now that Total and Atacama are targeting human rights activists and land rights defenders with ill motives designed to crack down the activities of these activists defending land rights and culture of rural communities by forcing activists and human rights organizations to back off the campaign, the future of community activism is in peril. Their goal is to intimidate critics into abandoning activism so that Total can go ahead to grab land and continue to violate human rights of communities.

Total and Atacama are planning to employ 500 people in the Albertine region to help them conduct corporate espionage against activists. Their goal is to employ many journalists and members of Kampala based NGOs to spy on the villagers and land rights activists in Buliisa, Hoima, and Pakwach, Nwoya as well as Kikube districts among others.

According to the document seen by Albertine Watch, its discovered that Total and Atacama are willing to pay hundreds of dollars in cash to pay journalists and, members of Kampala based NGOs to spy on local human rights defenders and land rights activists in the region.

Albertine Watch is ensuring the Atacama and Total that any attempt by them to spy on its staff and to intimidate other activists in the region will backfire on them.

Albertine Watch will continue its works in Buliisa and all the other districts in the Albertine region on behalf of the communities in the Albertine region. Albertine Watch will continue to expose the very many human rights abuse and violation being committed by the two companies in Buliisa and other places in the Albertine region.

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