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Eight Arrested in Kwania for Encroaching on Wetlands

The suspects currently detained at Kwania Central Police Station have reportedly been using the wetland for cultivation and brick laying.

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The Environment Protection Police Unit in Kwania district has arrested eight people who have been encroaching on various wetlands in the district.

The arrested include; Moses Lutalo, Justine Odongo, Susan Atiang, Jennet Apio and Stephen Odur all residents of Abongomola sub-county. Others are; Jasper Oling of Aduku town council, and Esther Tino of Aboko parish, Aduku sub-county.

The suspects, currently detained at Kwania Central Police Station have reportedly been using the wetland for cultivation and brick laying.

They were rounded up in a two-day joint security operation which started on Thursday mounted by the Environment Protection Police Unit. The operations were conducted in Amorigoga and Baracer swamps all in Abongomola sub-county, Aboko swamp in Aduku sub-county and Arocha swamp in Aduku town council, which are the most affected wetlands.

Proscovia Acam, Kwania deputy Resident District Commissioner, says that the suspects have been warned several times to vacate the wetlands but they refused. She warned that the operation will continue to bring the wetland encroachers to book.

//Cue in: “We had an …

Cue out: … face the Law.”//

Jimmy Okweny, Kwania Senior Environment officer says that wetland can only be used strictly for grazing animals and fishing activities according to the National Environment Act and the National Wetlands Management Policy.

Luo

//Cue in: “Tye ni cunykulu …

Cue out: … obedo em alwak.”//

Justine Odongo, one of the suspects confessed that he has been illegally cultivating crops in the wetland to support his family. However, Fred Otim, a resident of Amorigoga parish in Abongomola sub-county says that the wetland encroachers are people who have sold off their customary land. He wants the environment police to intensify operations against the wetland encroachers in order to conserve the environment and mitigate climate change.

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//Cue in: “Community me Amorigoga …

Cue out: … yab wang jo.”//

Uganda's forest cover has drastically reduced from 4.9 million hectares in the early 1990's to 1.5 million hectares now. Agricultural activity and human settlement are the biggest contributors to wetland degradation especially in parts of Northern Uganda, according to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

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