By Peter Abaanabasazi
Police in Hoima is holding 14 people for their alleged involvement in illegal timber extraction and cultivation in Bugoma Central Forest Reserve in Kabwoya Sub-County, Hoima district.
The suspects have been identified as Bagambaje Dezideriyo, Vice Chairperson Tulipona Veterans Association, Mukama Pirr, Alike Jura, Byamugisha Darian, Dan Gibi and Enock Bekunda all residents of Nyairongo village in Kabwoya Sub-County.
Other is Christopher Nyakoojo, David Munyaneza, Robert Rutalo and one Sadam, Steven Timbigamba, Godfrey Kyarimpa, Enoch Mbwabale and Masereka Kaiso Azoriya business men dealing in timber Business.
Stewart Maniraguha said that, four of the suspects were arrested on 28th July while ten others were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday. They were arrested during impromptu operations by Hoima district environmental police and National Forestry Authority (NFA) code named save Bugoma forest reserve.
He says that the operation was launched following Hoima environmental task force resolution to evict all encroacher in Bugoma forest reserve after the opening of forest the boundary.
During the operation Police impounded lorry Registration No UAW 737P full of timbers, axes, hoes, five machetes and three sewing machines which they have been using to do the illegal activities in the forest which they took to Hoima police as exhibits.
During the operation they destroyed two charcoal kilns and 12 bags of charcoal that were found b in the forest as their owners had taken off.
Maniraguha said they are going to charge them with section 32 of the forest and tree planting Act 2003 which prohibits anyone from cutting, taking, disturbing and growing of crops in the forest reserve.
The community liaison officer at Hoima police station in charge of environmental Abdul Waibare operations will continue until the forest is cleared of encroachment.
Police is hunting for a tycoon who has been paying for destruction of concrete pillar that were installed to mark forest boundary.
He explained over 10 Pillars worth shs1.5 million have been destroyed in parts of Kabwoya by unknown people after being paid shs15000 on each pillar.
However the suspects blamed NFA and police for evicting and arresting them before presetting to them the Boundary exercise report.