By Ismael Kasooha
Over 34 people have been arrested by the National Forestry Authority (NFA) and the Police in Kibaale district for destroying protected forests.
The district criminal investigation department chief, Michael Ogwal, said the arrests took place in Nyakarongo forest reserve in Mugarama sub-county and Kangombe village.
Ogwal said the suspects were charged with deforestation and illegal pit sawing.
He said 18 suspects were held at Kibaale and 16 at Isunga Police stations.
Ogwal appealed to the public to keep off the gazetted forest.
The destruction of forest reserves is said to have increased after the presidential directive, which halted evictions of encroachers.
Ogwal said there had been a public outcry at the alarming rate of forest destruction in the district, which prompted the forestry authority to act.
As a result of forest destruction, he said, the weather pattern in the district had changed, affecting the agricultural sector where more than 90% of the district population derive their livelihood.