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July 11, 2024
Kampala Daily

Police arrest 12 people, impound 900 bags of Charcoal in Aswa West

Police in Aswa West have arrested twelve individuals for violating Presidential Executive Order Number Three, which bans the commercial charcoal business in northern Uganda.

The suspects, all male, were apprehended on June 11 during a security operation in Amuru and Gulu districts, conducted by the Aswa West Regional Environmental Protection Police Unity (EPPU) and the National Forestry Authority.

David Ongom Mudong, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson, announced on June 12 that eight suspects were detained from Kilak Corner Forest Reserve in Amuru District, while four others were found in trucks transporting over 900 bags of charcoal from Gulu City.

Mudong reported that the EPPU and NFA’s operation led to the arrest of twelve individuals involved in illegal commercial charcoal activities, contrary to Presidential Order III. The suspects were caught cutting and burning charcoal, and illegally cultivating crops like maize inside the forest.

He mentioned that the suspects’ files were ready and they would soon appear in court. The impounded bags of charcoal are awaiting a court order for auctioning.

The impounded vehicles, Fuso Fighter Trucks with registration numbers UAZ 041P, UBK 130E, UAP 963U, and UAY 099U, along with the bags of charcoal, are currently held at the NFA offices in Gulu City.

Presidential Executive Order No. 3, issued in May 2023, aimed to address illegal land acquisition by migrant cattle keepers and environmental injustices in northern Uganda. However, regional leaders expressed concerns about its implementation, which began in November 2023 but had not been fully enforced.

During the homecoming ceremony of State Minister for Northern Uganda Rehabilitation, Dr. Kenneth Omona, held in Gulu City in May 2024, Kilak North MP Anthony Akol urged the government to enforce the order. In response, Dr. Omona confirmed that the order remains in effect and that its implementation would commence soon.

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