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Regional News of Saturday, 5 March 2005

Source: GNA

Chainsaw operators depleting Amobala forest and off-reserves

Diaso (C/R), March 5, GNA-The Diaso Community Forest Committee (CFC) in the Upper Denkyira district of the Central region has expressed great concern about the rate at which the Amobaka forest and its off-reserves were being destroyed by the illegal activities of chainsaw operators.

In a petition signed by Mr Alfred Nyanko and Mr Paul Adansi, chairman and secretary respectively of the CFC and addressed to the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, the committee stressed, "please if you do not help us, in two years to come, there will be no trees in the forest and the off-reserves at Amobaka".

The petition further urged the Forestry Commission to come and inspect the forest to become abreast with the current state of the forest.

"Please try to bring video cameras to go round the forest and its off-reserve to enable you see things for yourselves", it said.

The committee pointed out that though it was formed to work hand-in-hand with the Commission, the members are handicapped as the chainsaw operators used mobile phones and guns during their operations. The petition explained that recently the members went on an operation with forest officers from Kumasi and Bibiani during which over 400 lumbers, two machines were seized and one chainsaw operator, arrested.

According to the committee, the case was sent to Bibiani and as at now nothing had been heard about it, "not even our share of one-third of the lumbers was given to us".

The petition said because the case was mishandled, a lot of chainsaw operators had taken advantage and are depleting the forest. Later in an interview, Mr Nyanko appealed to the Ministry of Lands and Forestry to take immediate action to check the illegal activities of the chainsaw operators.

When the GNA managed to get the Upper Denkyira Forestry Officer on phone, he only banged the phone on hearing Amobaka forest and the off-reserves.

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