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25.03.2007 General News

Invaders destroy hectares of cocoa farms

By myjoyonline

Some unidentified people numbering about 200 invaded the Tongya Forest Reserve at Subinso in the Ahafo-Ano North district and destroyed hundred of hectares of cocoa farms belonging to 15 farmers.

Briefing newsmen at Tepa last Friday, Mr. Kwasi Krah Fuseni, spokesperson for the farmers, said at 12 noon on March 21, a group of people numbering about 200, some of whom were wearing army and police uniforms with AK 47 raffles, invaded Camp Two in the Tongya forest reserve and started cutting down their cocoa trees.

He said for fear of being arrested and harassed by the invaders, some of the farmers fled the area but those who were courageous and stayed behind were arrested and taken away to an unknown place.

He alleged that in some cases, the farmers were given cutlasses to destroy their own farms.

Mr. Fuseni disclosed that some of the farmers lost their monies, spraying machines and other personal belongings which were taken away by the attackers.

The farmers, who claimed to have been cultivating farms in the forest for more than 20 years, could not explain how they came by the land but agreed that the area was a forest reserve belonging to the State.

What they did not understand was why thousands of hectares of cocoa farms belonging to other farmers in the same forest reserve were left untouched except the ones at Camp Two.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Nicholas Opare Ofosuhene, the District Police commander corroborated the story. He explained that after receiving complaint from the farmers, the police went to the area but could not find anyone, adding that they were investigating the matter.

The GNA says all attempts to contact the Ashanti Regional Forestry Division on the case failed as there was no response to its call.