By APN Reporter
Mpigi environmental defenders almost breathed their last on the 26th of Apirl after being attacked by yet to be identified people.
Environmental defenders and concerned citizens in Kayabwe town council in Mpigi district are facing severe psychological torture, threats, arrests, and physical attack by wetland murderers who have grounded their destruction on Kayabwe-Nkozi wetland under the protection of council authorities as well as police.
Yesterday, a group of environmental defenders was harshly beaten by people in plain clothes for demonstrating in the middle of the road at the Uganda equator in Kayabwe Town Council, Mpigi district, against the actions of destroying the wetland that is being taken by local authorities.
The assaulters, who were in layers of clothes, came in a police truck that immediately left them behind, beating defenders. When we contacted the local police station, Mr. Akimu Monday disowned the attackers, saying that they were not police officers and that police would investigate the cause.
However, following the O/C, traffic blames the defenders, Timothy Wangila, Joyce Nampamba, John Bosco, and their colleagues for causing traffic jams and demonstrating without permission from the local police, which indicates that the attackers could have been police disguised as civilians. Our reporter could not independently verify who was actually behind the attack.
Ms. Caroline, the Protection Officer at Environmental Wise Use Initiative, an NGO operating in Mpigi district, calls for the community to stand up and join the environmental defenders who are fighting for the integrity of the Kayabwe-Nkozi Wetland. “Uganda’s wetland loss stands at a rate of 2.5% to 3% annually.
The destruction and drainage of wetlands explain the climate variability that the country is facing, evidenced by prolonged periods of drought, heavy rains, irregular rain and dry season patterns, says Caroline. Kayabwe – Nkozi wetland is situated two km from the Uganda Equator line, which has been attracting tourists to see the beautiful wetland birds, among others, crested cranes, Ibis, great egrets, ducks, among others.
Because of its strategic location, the council authorities have given out part of the wetland and given licenses to business people to carry out washing bays, truck parking yards, and sites for vehicle garages. The wetland part that has been drained and prepared for business is 2 acres.
According to the mayor of Kayabwe Town Council, Mr. ZZedi Mukasa Hassan, “As the council, we have to look for sources of revenue to support council activities and that is why we have passed a resolution during the council meeting to give away part of the wetland to the business community as one of the reliable sources.
Mr. ZZedi says that the truck parking yard on the wetland will reduce the congestion in the roadside parking and will also reduce the insecurity. By the time of filing this story, three defenders were nursing injuries at the KK medical Centre in Kayabwe Town Council.