Environmental Police Unit Deploys In Budongo Forest

2151 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
The police Environmental Protection Unit has deployed in and around Budongo forest in a bid to fight against rampant encroachment in the area.

The police Environmental Protection Unit has deployed in and around Budongo forest in a bid to fight against rampant encroachment in the area.

This is the second area the new police unit is being deployed after Mabira forest.

John Twinomugisha, the police Liaison at Officer National Forestry Authority is overseeing the deployment in Bunyoro.

Twinomugisha told journalists on Thursday that Budongo and Mabira were the two priority areas for the new police unit because of the high rates of forest encroachment.

He says the police unit in Bunyoro will specifically deal with the problem of encroachment on the Budongo area whose forests are near extinction due to rampant encroachment by the local communities.

Other than protecting central forest reserves, Twinomujuni explains that the police will also be charged with enforcing environmental laws and the National Forest and Tree planting Act within Bunyoro.

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The force is deploying environmental police officers in Masindi, Hoima and Kibaale districts shared by the Budongo forestry systems.

The Environmental Protection Unit came into being in December last year with intent to enhance the fight against rampant environmental degradation.

The unit currently has only 150 police officers in the whole country but Twinomugisha says the number will be increased in future.

Robert Owinyi, the National Forestry Authority Kisindi Sector Manager welcomes the deployment in the region. Owinyi explains that the force will help in driving out encroachers especially in Bugoma where about 400 hectares of the forest have been cleared by war veterans and residents in Kabwoya and Kyangwali Sub counties in Hoima district.

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The deployment in Hoima started on Thursday.