Police in the Aswa region is investigating circumstances under which two charcoal dealers were allegedly tortured by former MP Samuel Odonga Otto. The former MP allegedly committed the offence with members of his local gang in the Acholi sub-region.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the suspects were captured in a video that went viral harassing and repeatedly caning the two victims all over their bodies.
Enanga said the victims after being released by the gang reported the issue at Atanga police station. This prompted police to register a case of torture and summoned Otto and his gang.
“We want to remind the public that torture through the use of corporal punishment or any other form of physical assault is punishable by law. We urge the former lawmaker to avoid taking the law in his hand and misleading members of the public into acts of lawlessness and impunity,” he said.
This website also learnt that Odonga Otto with his gang as well grabbed the charcoal of the victims. Enanga said should have been done through lawful means such as the court to have the charcoal disposed of.
He said by confiscating the charcoal implied that the former MP and his gang were involved in another form of thuggery and wondered where they could take it after grabbing it away from the victims.
“The ones who are confiscating the charcoal are also selling it, so, what are you trying to counter? It is better if the charcoal is confiscated based on the environmental protocols they have in Acholi sub-region; have the lorries packed at the police station and get an order from the court on how it can be disposed of,” said Enanga.
It’s not the first time police are warning the former legislature on taking matters into his hands. Last month, he was seen intercepting trucks loaded with charcoal illegally and deflating them.
Otto launched a campaign against illegal charcoal trade in the region early last month and has since been intercepting charcoal trucks in the area.
He formed Ribbe Pi Paco (RPP), an environmental youth advocacy and activism group working to implement the Ministry of Environment’s ban on commercial trade, production, and transportation of charcoal and forest products.
According to the Global Forest Watch report, the Gulu district alone lost 38.7kha of tree cover, equivalent to a 6.2 percent decrease in tree cover from 2001 to 2021, with the largest portion of the forest cover destroyed for charcoal production and timber.