Nakapiripirit, Uganda | URN | Authorities in Nakapiripirit district in the northeastern Uganda have intercepted a police truck found loading over 70 bags of charcoal in Kamusalaba despite the presidential ban on commercial charcoal trade.
The vigilant community notified the district security committee which took immediate action with the assistance of the police, leading to the arrest of the driver. The unnamed driver is currently in custody at Nakapiripirit Central Police Station. Nakapiripirit Resident District Commissioner Michael Okurut informed reporters that the truck was impounded as part of the ongoing operations against the commercial charcoal business.
Okurut expressed astonishment at finding police personnel who are tasked with implementing the presidential directives involved in violating the guidelines. Okurut stated that the driver of the police truck will aid in the ongoing investigations into the matter.
“We have impounded quite a number of vehicles, arraigned the perpetrators in courts of law… Last week and now, we impounded two trucks. Unfortunately, one truck is belonging to the police. We have apprehended the driver and is going to be arraigned in courts of law. The truck impounded loaded quite a number of bags,” said Okurut.
Susan Nangiro, the Deputy Speaker for Nakapiripirit district commended the effectiveness of the presidential directives in reducing the rampant cutting down of trees for charcoal burning. She acknowledged the diminishing tree population and lamented that corruption among law enforcement officers has hindered their efforts to combat deforestation.
Despite several attempts to regulate the charcoal business through district council resolutions, operationalization has proven challenging. Nangiro noted a slight reduction in tree destruction since the implementation of the presidential directives, attributing this progress to the involvement of the district security committee in enforcement.
Paul Lokut, a male district youth councilor, emphasized the necessity of involving youth in campaigns against deforestation. He observed that youth are often excluded from environmental activities and only engaged in peace dialogues. Lokut stressed the significant role of youth in raising awareness about the dangers of environmental destruction and the importance of tree planting.
When contacted for a response, Michael Longole, the Mt. Moroto Regional police spokesperson stated that he did not have any information regarding the arrest and impoundment of the police truck. He assured that he would provide details after verifying the reports.