ADJUMANI. The Adjumani district chairman Mr Ben Anyama has embarked on a crackdown to punish defiant illegal charcoal dealers by impounding trucks of charcoal and distributing it to charity Institutions.

The forest department led by the secretary production and natural resources Ms Korina Ondoa on Thursday offered the charcoal to Abiricaku Mosque clerics, Adjumani town Catholic mission and the patients in Adjumani hospital.

Ondoa said the move is aimed at curtailing illegal charcoal business since the council has outlawed commercial charcoal trade in the district.

“The council used to impound and auction the charcoal, but still it was attracting outrage from the public, now it is deemed fit to distribute the charcoal to charity institutions so that it will benefit the vulnerable people”, she said.

The truckload of charcoal was impounded on July 19th, 2021 along Openzinzi prisons-Adjumani town road. The district councillor for C Itirikwa sub county Mr Gabriel Isadru and Mr Stephen Owole, the Adropi Sub county councillor coordinated the operations.

The truck registration number UBD 762K was towed to the district headquarters with the charcoal.

The district forest officer Mr Francis Oja said his office is still consulting on whether to take the driver of the truck to court or give him an express penalty.

Section 84 of National Forestry and Tree Planting Act 2003, states that forest produce forfeited under section 1shall or unless otherwise ordered by court be sold or otherwise disposed off as decided by the responsible body.

Recently, Friends of Zoka an Environmental pressure group demanded for the destruction or burning of all impounded charcoal in order to deter the defiant illegal charcoal dealers.

On December 2,2016, Adjumani district council resolved that all commercial charcoal trade be banned and logging declared illegal but enforcement of the resolution became a challenge.

Several charcoal dealers from Central, Eastern and Western Uganda invaded Adjumani district when relative peace returned in the area after the 20 years LRA insurgency and efforts to stop them from depleted trees were futile as many were allegedly operating on orders from above.