Four police officers held over protecting mineral smugglers


GULU/AGAGO. Aswa River Region police are holding four of their own over allegations of aiding suspected mineral smugglers to smuggle mercury in Agago District.
Those held include the officer-in-charge of Abim Police Station, ASP Dickens Turinawe and three of his junior officers, who are at the rank of constables.

They are: Mr Isaac Edimu, Mr Kenneth Bongomin, and Mr Charles Mungumiyo. The suspects were arrested on October 2 from Lapono hills in Lapono Sub-county, Agago District after a tip-off.
The suspects were arrested along with eight civilians suspected to be part of the mineral smuggling racket.
The arrested police officers, who were reportedly armed with AK47 assault rifles, had allegedly been hired by unidentified Kenyan tycoon to help lead the team of eight men to the top of Lapono hills in search of mercury.

The Agago Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Charles Ray Okwir, told Daily Monitor in an interview on Monday that the civilians, who comprised a team of engineers, surveyors and a chemist first attempted to climb the hill on September 14 but failed.

He noted that the intelligence reports they gathered indicated the men, who are working on behalf of a Kenyan tycoon, landed aboard a light aircraft at Abim Senior Secondary School compound on September 14 to undertake the mission.
“We got reports that they failed to reach the hilltop due to poor accessibility. They later went back and camped in Abim where they stayed until September 27 when they again made their way to the hilltop on the same mission,” he said.

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