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09.09.2004 Regional News

Illegal chainsaw operations on the increase in Central Region

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Ajumako, Sept.9, GNA - The Central Region Forestry Commission, in collaboration with military personnel drawn from the 64 Infantry Battalion, have within eight months, intercepted 20 truck loaded with illegally sawn lumber.

Mr John Elletey, the Regional Manager of the Commission, who made this known on Wednesday, said the illegal operations was active in the Supong, Wawahi and Bako forest reserves in the Breman-Asikuma District, resulting in the degradation of 100 hectors of land in 2003 alone.

He was speaking during a case study tour of the Supong Forest Reserve, in the Assin Foso Forest District, and to seek public sympathy and support in the fight against illegal logging.

Mr Elletey said although five of the truck drivers have been prosecuted in court, the sentences imposed on them were mild. He suggested the need for the imposition of custodial sentences, without an option of a fine on future convicts.

Mr Elletey condemned the community leaders who condoned and connived with the operators and appealed to the public to give information leading to the arrest of such anti-social people.

Mr James Ware Assin Foso, the District Manager of Forestry said some of the operators have resorted to the use of sophisticated weapons to attack forest guards.

He said the situation was worse in the Assin Foso Forest District, compelling his office to seek the assistance of the military to curb the practice.