Police in Adjumani district has aressted eleven suspects over alleged encroachment into East Mad’i wildlife reserve.
Assistant superintendent of police Dragudu Ignatius, the police spokesperson for North West Nile region, has confirmed the incident, saying the suspects would be charged over illegal entry into a protected area.
During the joint operation carried out by police and Uganda Wildlife Authority, several makeshift structures were destroyed to deter the residents from encroaching into East Mad’i Wildlife Reserve.
Meanwhile, Moriga Wilson, a resident of Rubangabeni village in Maaji parish in Ukusijoni sub-county, has accused the officers involved in carrying out the Tuesday midmorning joint operation of what he termed as “forceful selective eviction.”
He said during the operation several grass thatched houses were destroyed along with household items as well as some food items like simsim, okra, and beans.
Another resident identified as Ageta Joseph claimed that game rangers attached to the East Mad’i wildlife reserve area have always subjected residents living around the protected area to inhuman treatment.
He said on several occasions the residents were forced to cut down trees that are used as construction poles by the game rangers who then ferry them across the River Nile to be sold in Adjumani district to potential buyers.
But Bashir Hangi, the communications manager at Uganda Wildlife Authority, said encroachment into wildlife reserve is prohibited, warning that operations to get rid of people who have deliberatedly established illegal structures inside protected areas would continue.