Police Launches Aggressive Crackdown on Illegal Timber Trade Following Presidential Ban

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KAMPALA – In a significant move to combat the rampant illegal timber trade, Uganda has launched an intensive operation aimed at curbing the unsustainable harvesting of trees and illegal export of timber.

The crackdown comes in response to a ban issued by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President, which restricts the harvesting of trees for timber and veneer exports and mandates that only factories within the country, following sustainable practices, be permitted to operate.

The ban, designed to protect Uganda’s natural resources and promote sustainable practices, has now mobilized all territorial commanders to take action against illegal timber activities.

“In collaboration with support teams from the National Forestry Authority (NFA), customs, Ministry of Trade, Local Governments, Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), and other sister security agencies, these commanders have been assigned the task of curbing illegal activities related to timber trafficking and charcoal production”. SCP Enanga Fred, the Police Spokesperson says.

He added “It has been noted that various timber traders, transporters, middlemen, and locals have often formed intricate networks to facilitate the illegal transportation of timber across land and water borders. However, the recent Executive Order has rendered all such activities illegal, with strict zero tolerance for offenders”.

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SCP Enanga, emphasized the gravity of the situation and warned against attempts to circumvent the Presidential Directive. The task teams have been directed to identify and target all timber trafficking hotspots, focusing on land, air, and water border points.

“The operation will also extend its reach to tackle illegal activities within big companies, criminal elites, politicians, and unscrupulous dealers involved in the illegal export of timber”. He said.

The President’s directive has further encouraged the promotion of sustainable tree planting and harvesting plans. By limiting the timber operations to factories processing timber within Uganda for the production of plywood, furniture, and other value-added products, the government aims to ensure responsible and eco-friendly practices within the industry.

The authorities are urging citizens to cooperate and support the efforts to protect Uganda’s natural resources and preserve its rich biodiversity. The success of this operation will rely on the collective efforts of all stakeholders involved, from law enforcement agencies to the general public.

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As the crackdown commences, the nation remains committed to upholding the ban on illegal timber trade and safeguarding its environment for the well-being and prosperity of current and future generations.

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