By Innocent Atuganyira
Two people are in police custody at Kakumiro central police station for cultivating in wetlands.
The suspects are Simon Samadhi and Stephen Atulinda, both residents of Kakumiro district.
The suspects were picked in a joint operation involving police and National Environmental Management Authority-NEMA on weekend. They were caught red-handed cultivating rice in Mabengere and Larokarungi wetlands in Kisiita and Mwitanzige sub-counties respectively.
Yudaya Nakinga, the Kakumiro District Natural Resources Officer who led the operation, says that they received intelligence information indicating that several hectares of the wetlands had been encroached on for different activities.
She says although other suspects managed to escape the arrest, they managed to apprehend the duo and will present them in court for wetland degradation contrary to Section 36 of the National Environment Act Cap 153.
Mackline Namiyingo, the Kakumiro District Environment Officer, says the operations against people degrading wetlands will continue.
She says the operations were prompted by numerous complaints on the rapid destruction of the two wetlands.
Bawarane Kalisiti, the LC 1 Chairperson Kyamajara in Kisiita town council, says his office tried to stop the encroachers from farming rice in the wetlands but in vain.
Section 36 of the National Environment Act provides for the protection of wetlands and prohibits reclamation, erection of illegal structures and empowers authorities to demolish any structure that is fixed in, on, under or above any wetland.