Uganda: Two forest guards killed by illegal loggers

TWO members of the National Forestry Authority in Masaka district have
been killed in Bukakata forest by illegal pit sawyers, who camped in
the forest on Wednesday. According to Hudson Andrua, the director of
natural forests at the authority, clashes between the forestry staff
and illegal loggers were becoming common. He, however, said this was
the first time staff had been killed. Andrua named the deceased as
Alfred Ezati, who worked as a forest supervisor and a patrol man,
Emmanuel Assimwe. “We do not know where to start,” Andrua said. “It is
a big sacrifice to protect the natural forests. This case involving
death is extreme,” he added.

Quoting reports from his staff in Masaka,
Andrua said the staff at Bukakata responded to a tip-off that illegal
pit sawyers were cutting down trees. “The intervention started at
10:00am and culminated into a fight that resulted into the death of
the two officers,” he explained. Andrua said the survivor, Charles
Kabogare, a patrol man, spent the whole day in the forest trying to
get out. He managed to escape on Thursday morning and reported to the
Police at 10:00am yesterday. “One suspect has been arrested,” Andrua
said. “We hope justice will be delivered expeditiously because these
forests we are dying for benefit all Ugandans and they should be
protected,” he said Damian Akankwasa, the executive director of the
authority, said he had written to security agencies to support the
patrol teams. He, however, said the process to secure the back up was
slow Akankwasa accused the local people, including politicians of
fuelling illegal activities in the forest reserves “It is difficult to
protect the forests without the support of the local people.
Politicians have been inciting the public to fight our staff,”
Akankwasa said. He cited Mukono as one of the hostile areas where
staff had been beaten and raped. Bukakata forest is located on the
shores of Lake Victoria in Buggala. The forest is under intense
pressure due to the increasing demand for timber, charcoal and

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