General News of Saturday, 12 August 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Illegal loggers threaten lives of DCEs

Some illegal loggers in the Western region have threatened the lives of some District Chief Executives (DCEs) following their attempts to halt their logging activities.

The District Chief Executive for Bia West, John Kua tells Joy News the illegal loggers who are heavily armed operate deep in the night to prevent being swooped on by the security agencies.

Some forest reserves in the Western region have been under attack following a clamp down on galamsey activities there.

As the country intensifies it fight against illegal mining locally referred to as ‘galamsey’, many of those involved are working their own ways to finding a new source of livelihood.

Even before the alternative livelihood program earmarked by government takes off to assist those involved in galamsey activities, the illegal loggers have stormed region especially Bia West, Bia East and Juaboso districts making millions of cedis from illegal cutting down trees in forest reserves.

“There are currently Chainsaw operators operating illegally in the forest probably at the blind side of the Ghana Forestry Commission people,” Mr Kua told Joy News.

He said they have formed a task force with the police to combat the activities of the illegal loggers but because it is done deep in the night, it makes it difficult to arrest them.

“We are therefore calling on government that while it is busy fighting galamsey, it should not take its eyes off the forest reserves, otherwise we wake up to a depleted forest.

“The situation is so bad that we will not say we the forest this time around as the trees are all gone. You could see the stretch and think you have the forest but you walk a kilometre into the forest and every tree is gone,” he said.

He said they would need all stakeholders including military intervention to help them protect the rest of the forest.

Mr Kua says the country stands at a risk as depletion of the forest is will threaten cocoa production because “rains will not come at the right time and cocoa pollination which is currently ongoing.”