Illegal logging continues in Adjumani

Nov 25, 2020

Illegal logging and commercial charcoal burning has intensified in Adjumani with loggers targeting Afzelia Africana

Adjumani resident district commissioner Taban Peter Data has called an emergency stakeholders' meeting for Wednesday to address the runaway illegal logging and charcoal burning in the district.

The meeting follows an incident on Tuesday, where locals and a local environmental pressure group Friends of Zoka impounded a truck ferrying logs of the endangered Afzelia Africana tree.

The angry locals on Tuesday overpowered the Police and got hold of a truck registration number UAT 196D, which was trailed from Pachara sub-county on Monday evening where it loaded the logs.

The locals formed a human barricade to prevent the truck from leaving Adjuamni Town saying despite the government's pronouncements on logging, the vice continues under the watch of local authorities.

Logs being offloaded at Adjumani Mayor's Garden. Photo by John Unzima

They ordered the truck be driven to Adjumani Mayor's Garden where the logs were offloaded and truck impounded.

"We are tired of this. We want to take this matter in our hands because if we hand this to the authorities, it will be set free," a local who preferred anonymity told New Vision.

While addressing a visiting European Union delegation at Zoka Central Forest Reserve on November 4, First Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Moses Ali, among other things cancelled all licenses for harvesting forest products in Adjumani.

Ali also directed the immediate closure of temporary camps of illegal loggers and commercial charcoal burners in the district.

"All security agencies are hereby directed to implement the recommendation," Ali said.

Willam Amanzuru an environmental activist with Friends of Zoka squares off with Police on Tuesday. Photo by John Unzima

Barely three weeks since the directive came into effect, illegal logging and commercial charcoal burning has intensified in Adjumani with loggers targeting Afzelia Africana in Itirikwa and Pachara sub-counties.

While impounding the truck on Tuesday, locals continued to express frustration over the inaction of authorities in enforcement of the recent directives.

Saviour Kandaraku a resident, said when they started trailing the truck, they informed the Police but they (Police) didn't respond until it was impounded by the citizens.

"We think the authorities are playing double standard with us. They tell us this and they do the other, so we shall go to do the enforcement ourselves beginning with this one," Kandaraku said.

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