Two Held for Logging On Disputed Land

2135 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
Yosufu Mugisa, a top official of BUKTAREPA told Uganda Radio Network upon return from Kyangwali last evening, that what was needed is to catch someone red-handed defying the court order staying any activities on the disputed land.

Two people have been arrested for illegal lumbering in the contested area in Bugoma Central Forest Reserve in Kyangwali Sub County in Hoima district. The duo was picked up in an operation on Tuesday by Bunyoro-Kingdom subjects under Bunyoro-Kitara Reparation Agency Limited-BUKTAREPA.

The suspects were handed over to Wairagaza police post in Kyangwali Sub County with a pit saw and 78 pieces of timber. Our reporter couldn't establish the identities of the suspects by the time of filing this story as the officers at the police post declined to speak on the matter.

The operation comes barely a week after the Prime Minister of Bunyoro Kingdom, Norman Lukumu accused of police and National Forestry Authority-NFA of aiding illegal logging on the Kyangwali ancestral land. The contested land, which has pitied Bunyoro- Kitara Kingdom against NFA, is currently occupied by Police and NFA officials.

Police occupied the land pending the conclusion of a suite before Masindi High court on the ownership of the land. Bunyoro kingdom contends that the land is part of the restituted properties, while NFA claims the land is part of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve. 


Julius Hakiza the Albertine Region Police Spokesperson says his office is yet to receive information on the arrest. He promised to provide details when the suspects are transferred to Hoima Central Police Station. Lawrence Katusabe, the Mburara LC I Chairperson, says the operation was prompted by the rampant illegal logging.
Runyoro

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Baguma Kabalega, a caretaker of Bunyoro kingdom land in Kyangwali and a member of BUKTAREPA, says they have been seeing NFA officials led by one Robert receiving unknown people who later descend on the forest to cut timber.

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According to the residents, majority of illegal loggers enter the forest at night and load timber on vehicles that transport it to Hoima town. 


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Yosufu Mugisa, a top official of BUKTAREPA told Uganda Radio Network upon return from Kyangwali last evening, that what was needed is to catch someone red-handed defying the court order staying any activities on the disputed land.

He says there is hope that the suspects in police custody will reveal more about their activities.
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Jimmy Ouna, the Encroachment Prevention Specialist in NFA, says no one in government has a hand in illegal logging on the disputed land.  Ouna told URN on phone from Kampala this morning that it is hard to wipe out illegal lumbering, saying Mburara village where the suspects were arrested from is several kilometers away from Nsozi where the environmental protection police unit is based.
 
He has asked police to carry out thorough investigations with the help of the two suspects to get to the bottom of the matter.
 

 

About the author

Thembo Kahungu
Thembo Kahungu is interested in journalism that changes lives. A recent example is when a suspect in state prosecutor Joan Kagezi was held longer than the law states. Kahungu is proud to note that it was his follow up on Geoffrey Kato's unlawful detention that led to the freedom of the boda boda rider.

Previously based in Kasese, Kahungu has been reposted to Hoima town. Kahungu is now the Uganda Radio Network Hoima bureau chief.

Kahungu has been a practicing journalist since 2007. He was a reporter for Radio Messiah and Kasese Guide Radio. He was also the Kasese Daily Monitor freelance writer. He has also been a teacher at Liberty College of Management and Journalism in Kasese district.

Kahungu is deeply interested in investigative journalism. Kahungu has developed a big interest in covering issues to do with Oil, Gas and Mining after attending a fellowship in Ghana in October 2015 under the sponsorship of Natural Resource Governance Institute.