Agago, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents in the villages of Rugu-Rugu, Lela, Kadera and Obulu Ayita in Agago district have clashed with their neighbours of Lacekotto villages for allegedly abating illegal charcoal trade in the area.
More than 30 residents armed with machetes, spears and axes stormed charcoal production camps in the area where dozens of people from Lackeotto village headed by the area LCI Chairperson Ramadan Odong were engaged in Charcoal production.
Adilang Sub-County Chairperson Mohammed Okwir says that the residents stormed the camp in the enforcement of a recent district council resolution that banned commercial production and transportation of charcoal in the Agago district. In the aftermath, numerous makeshift huts and structures in the camps were torched down and several heaps of unburned charcoal kilns destroyed by the villagers. Two people were injured in the process.
One of the residents who preferred anonymity says that they were instigated to act against the illegal dealers because they were concerned over the numerous trucks that were leaving the area loaded with charcoal at night, despite the ban on commercial charcoal trade in the district.
The residents also accused the Lacekotto village LCI Chairperson of siding with illegal charcoal dealers who are reportedly paying him 50,000 Shillings for every truck full of charcoal yet revenue payment at the district and the sub the county was scrapped in a bid to render the trade illegal.
Agago Resident District Commissioner Andrew Onyuk condemned the act and warned persons involved in the practice that they risk arrest and prosecution if they persist. Onyuk says the district security committee will intensify operations in all areas presumed to be breeding the illegal charcoal traders such that they are forcefully ejected from the district.
Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson Jimmy Patrick Okema says no arrest has been made in connection to the incident but that the police have registered a case in the matter and started an investigation. Okema however condemned the act of razing down the makeshift structures in the camp and urged the community members to desist from taking the law in their arms.