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Six Arrested in Crackdown on Illegal Loggers in Lamwo

Martin Abigaba, the Officer in Charge of Operations at Kitgum Central Police station told Uganda Radio Network in an interview Wednesday that the suspects were found destroying tree species indiscriminately in government forest reserves.
A truckfull of Charcoal in Amuru District. Photo By Julius Ocungi
The Police in Kitgum District is holding six suspects arrested for alleged illegal logging and charcoal burning.

The suspects were picked from Lamwo district during undercover operations conducted by the Environmental Protection Police Unit-EPPU over the weekend. 

The operations conducted in illegal logging and charcoal burning hotspots areas of Nyimur and Padwat in Palabek Ogili sub-county and Paloga Sub-county were commanded by the Commandant EPPU Elias Kasirabo.

Martin Abigaba, the Officer in Charge of Operations at Kitgum Central Police station says that the suspects were found destroying tree species indiscriminately in government forest reserves.

Abigaba says the suspects currently detained at Kitgum Central Police station engaged in mass charcoal production in the area, a vice that threatens the natural forest covers and endangered tree species.

Robert Oken, the Officer in Charge of Criminal Investigation at Kitgum Central Police Station says the investigation is already complete adding that the suspects are due to appear in court on Thursday.

Oken says the suspects have been charged with illegal cutting and burning of trees for charcoal contrary to the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act of 2003 section 14 subsection 1 and section 32 subsection 1A.

Oken notes that the conduct of the suspects who mostly hail from Eastern and Central parts of Uganda is aiding the disappearance of tree covers crucial in rain formation within the region.

Lamwo District Forestry Officer Bongomin Michael said that charcoal burning and logging is most common in Lokung and Palabek Sub-counties where currently vast quantity of local trees tree species have been destroyed.

The areas have seen a drastic decline in the population of endangered tree species such as Afzelia Africana and Shea nut that is in high demand for the quality timbers and charcoal they produce.

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