Police in Gulu City have arrested the Kilak South Member of Parliament Gilbert Olanya for allegedly inciting locals to loot charcoal.
Olanya was arrested Tuesday from For-God Parish in Bardege-Layibi Division, outside Gulu City center.
Police fired teargas during the arrest to disperse a group of locals who had reportedly intercepted a truck with a registration number UAM 698Q loaded with charcoal from an unknown destination.
Police accuse Olanya of mobilizing and inciting locals to illegally intercept charcoal trucks before looting away charcoal from them.
Conrad Byomugabe, the Gulu City West Division Police Commander confirmed Olanya’s arrest in an interview with Uganda Radio Network saying he is being detained at Gulu City West Police station.
Byomugabe says Olanya’s arrest is in relation to the incitement of locals and violence adding that many police officers at the time of the arrest of the suspect suffered injuries.
“It’s true we have arrested him from the scene at For-god on Amuru road. He is being held at Gulu West Police Station,” says Byomugabe.
He, however, notes that the Police are yet to conduct further investigation before full details pertaining to his arrest are released.
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 the former Aruu Counter legislator Samuel Odonga Otto have since taken the matters into their hands and in separate incidents have been caught on camera intercepting charcoal trucks, destroying charcoal bags, and inciting locals to loot them.
However last week, the Aswa River Region Police spokesperson David Ongom Mudong warned that there will be consequences for the legislator’s action saying its 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 24.7 million shillings 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.