KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: Kilak South MP was arrested by police in Gulu city on Tuesday for allegedly inciting locals to loot charcoal. Olanya was arrested from For-God parish in Bardege-Layibi Division, outside Gulu city centre.
Police fired teargas during the arrest to disperse a group locals who had reportedly intercepted a truck, registration number UAM 698Q loaded with charcoal from an unknown destination.
Police accuse Olanya of mobilizing and inciting locals to illegally intercept trucks carrying charcoal bags and loot the charcaol. Olanya recently launched a campaign on the escalating illegal charcoal trade in the region along with a group of vigilantes while accusing the police and environmental authorities in the region of failing to curb the vice.
His campaign comes against the backdrop of an ongoing ban on the issuance of documents facilitating the commercial production, trade, and transportation of charcoal issued by the ministry of Environment in February this year.
But local leaders in the region say despite the ban, many trucks loaded with charcoal pass through security roadblocks manned by the police on a daily basis.
Olanya and his counterpart, former Aruu County legislator Samuel Odonga Otto have since taken the matters into their hands, and in separate incidents, have been seen intercepting charcoal trucks, destroying charcoal bags, and inciting locals to loot them.
However last week, Aswa River Region police spokesperson David Ongom Mudong warned that there will be consequences for the legislator’s action, saying it’s unlawful.
The threats follow a complaint registered by a Kampala city businessman last week who accuse Odonga Otto of inciting locals to loot 380 bags of charcoal worth Shs 24.7 million from Angagura sub-county in Pader district.
Last Month, Amuru district authorities impounded over 1,000 bags of charcoal in a crackdown to implement the ban on illegal charcoal production and transportation. He was later released on police bond.
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