Security personnel in Amuru District are hunting for a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier for allegedly hiring out his gun to a poacher.
The suspect identified as Lance Corporal Geoffrey Arop, a security guard at a commercial farm in Nyamokino Parish in Lungulu Sub-county, Nwoya District went into hiding over the weekend following the arrest of his accomplices.
It’s reported that Arop hired out his gun, an AK47 assault rifle at an undisclosed fee to Tofa Abola on December 24.
It is alleged that Abola with the help of his accomplices on December 25 shot dead a Hippopotamus with the hired gun along the Nile river banks in Ajok village, Atoro parish in Lakang sub-county, Amuru District.
The Hippo had reportedly strayed away from the Murchison Falls Conservation area in Nwoya District.
The Amuru Resident District Commissioner Geoffrey Osborn Oceng said that three suspected poachers had so far been arrested while looking for markets for the Hippopotamus meat.
He identified the suspects as Godfrey Pachoto 25, Innocent Omony 28, and Derrick Onoba all residents of Pakwiyo Parish in the neighbouring Pakwach District currently being detained at Kololo Police station in Lakang Sub-county.
Oceng however said the UPDF soldier and Abola are still on the run adding that they are being trailed.
Oceng notes that they have notified officials at the fourth Infantry Division headquarters in Gulu of the involvement of the soldier in the illegal poaching trade.
He said the suspects on the run once apprehended and the accomplices will be arraigned in court for hiring out government property and illegal killing of protected wildlife.
He however urged the Uganda Wildlife Authority- UWA officials at Murchison Falls National Park to keep watch on marauding animals saying their invading human settlements and destroying crops in gardens.
UWA last year embarked on the installation of an electric fence along a 30 kilometres stretch around Murchison Falls National Park to curb the invasion of elephants into Human settlements in Nwoya District.
But Bashir Hangi, the UWA communications manager on Monday said he hadn’t received updated reports on the progress of the installation of the electric fence.
A case of illegal poaching has been registered under SD Ref: 16/24/12/2021 at Kololo Police station.