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Journalists Arrested Over Bugoma Forest Demo Released :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Journalists Arrested Over Bugoma Forest Demo Released

Joshua Mutale and Vennex Watebawa, both members of the Water and Environment Media Network-WEMNET were protesting against the leasing of Bugoma forest reserve to Hoima Sugar Limited by Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom for sugarcane growing.
Watebawa and Mutale after their release from Hoima Central Police station.Photo by Emmanuel Okello.
The two Environmental Journalists who were on Tuesday night arrested by police in Hoima in connection to a peaceful protest have been released on police bond.

Joshua Mutale and Vennex Watebawa, both members of the Water and Environment Media Network-WEMNET were protesting against the leasing of Bugoma forest reserve to Hoima Sugar Limited by Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom for sugarcane growing.

They were released on police bond on Thursday afternoon after spending two days in police cells.

The two were detained on Tuesday night shortly after arriving in Hoima city ahead of a peaceful demonstration against the destruction of Bugoma forest reserve in Kyangwali and Kabwoya Sub counties in Kikuube district.

According to police, the two journalists were detained after intelligence information indicated that they are the masterminds of the save Bugoma demonstration campaign. 

The demonstration was expected to start on Wednesday from Hoima City and stop in Bugoma central forest reserve in Kikuube district but it did not take place following the arrest and detention of the two journalists. 

Watebawa says their bid to mobilize the citizens against the destruction of Bugoma forest reserve will not end adding that they will not be intimidated by police.  

Recently, environmentalists under the "Save Bugoma Forest Reserve Campaign" made announcements on local stations inviting people in Bunyoro sub-region to join them in a peaceful demonstration to oppose the allocation of Bugoma forest to Hoima sugar limited for sugar cane growing.   

They want the National Environment Management Authority-NEMA to revoke the license issued to Hoima sugar limited to utilise 21 out of the 22 square miles of the forest reserve for sugarcane growing.

Hoima sugar limited leased Bugoma forest land from the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom for cane growing at 3 Billion Shillings.

National Forestry Authority- NFA, which is the chief custodian of all Natural forests in the country, is opposed to the project.  

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