Kilak South MP, Olanya arrested on allegation of inciting violence

(Last Updated On: 13 April 2023)

Gulu, April 12, 2023: Kilak South Member of Parliament, Gilbert Olanya was arrested and taken to Bardege-Layibi police post on allegations of inciting violence and malicious damage.

Olanya has been protesting against the burning and movement of charcoal in Acholi sub-region.

Olanya was arrested from Custom Corner in Gulu City at around 11 am together with Wilson Chaga Oyat, one of the environmental activists.

Before their arrests, there was a roadblock mounted by the MP and environmental activists to stop a Fuso lorry of registration number UBB 030D which was carrying over 500 sacks of charcoals allegedly coming from Ober-Abic in Amuru district.

Police fired teargas and live bullets in the air to disperse and confuse many rowdy people that had gathered to rally behind the MP. Regardless, over 50 people would later storm police premises demanding the unconditional release of the MP and his associates.

Benard Onywal is a resident of Lwala kwar in Lamogi sub-county who discussed with TND News in a phone interview that the communities are demanding the release of their MP.

Recently, the Ministry of Water and Environment banned the movement of all forest products in Acholi sub-region and Olanya has been in support.

Gilbert Olanya said the reason why police are arresting people like them is that they (Police) are trying to connect and connive with the parish chiefs, and district leaders to allow illegal charcoal dealers to move and get licenses.

Olanya commented that their action is direct and aligned with the presidential directives through the Ministry of the Environment on the ban of charcoal movement in the sub-region.

“We are going to have massive operations targeting Palaro sub-county in Gulu district and in Amuru district to stop any charcoal dealers. We appeal to the public not to sell their trees to any charcoal dealers so that we can fight climate change in this region.”

Amos Okot, a Member of Parliament for Agago district visited Olanya and his associates and described the arrest as “diversionary to confuse the leaders in their right to fully fight against massive cutting of trees in this region”.

Okot added that the operations spearheaded by his colleague have no damage and will help the Acholi people.

“We do not want Acholi to have prolonged drought, we want to eliminate poverty in this region through environmental conservation,” he added.

Tonny Kitara, the lawyer for the alleged suspects said they are ready to investigate further and will defend the allegation put against his clients.

David Ongom Mudong, the Asawa River Region police spokesperson through a phone interview denied Olanya’s arrest, saying he was yet to confirm from Division DPC of Bardege- Layibi police post.

In his early response during a press conference at NUMC, Mudong criticized the directive saying it has no regulation and police cannot swing into action to implement it.

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