Eleven suspects were arrested by Police in the Adjumani district over alleged encroachment into the East Mad’i wildlife reserve.
The incident was confirmed by Assistant Superintendent Dragudu Ignatius, the police spokesperson for the North West Nile region, he said 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.
However, locals have accused the operations in which officers are accused for the Tuesday midmorning joint operation of what he termed as “forceful selective eviction.”
During the operation, several grass-thatched houses were destroyed along with household items as well as some food items like simsim, okra, and beans.
Game reserve rangers attached to the East Mad’i wildlife reserve area have always subjected residents living around the protected area to inhuman treatment.
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 reserves is prohibited, warning that operations to get rid of people who have deliberately established illegal structures inside protected areas would continue.