Sanction shoot-to-kill to ward off illegal chainsaw operators — Owusu Afriyie

BY: Daniel Kenu
Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission addressing the media during the inspection
Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission addressing the media during the inspection

The Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, has proposed to the government to sanction a shoot-to-kill system to ward off illegal chainsaw operators from degrading the forests.


He said such a decision could also help protect members of the joint military-police forestry task force from attacks, especially in the Sefwi Wiaso and the Juaboso areas in the Western Region.

According to him, the only way the “nation wreckers” could be stopped from their illegal activities to preserve the country’s forest reserves was for the government to sanction the shoot-to-kill system by the task force.

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His proposal followed the latest attack on a military officer and a member of the task force at Sefwi Wiaso.

The suspect, Rahama Bawa, popularly called Wazinga, has since been sentenced to a two-year jail term by the Sefwi Wiaso Magistrate Court.
His accomplices were, however, granted bail.

Tour

Mr Afriyie was speaking during a visit to the area to have first-hand information on the operations of the joint task force. He was accompanied the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh.


Mr Afriyie commended members of the task force and the Head of the Forestry Commission at Sefwi, Nana Bossompem, for their resilience and hard work .

Arrest

During an interaction with members of the task force, it was established that Bawa was rearrested after he had escaped from hospital with the injuries he had sustained during a shootout with members of the task force.


In all,15,000 pieces of processed wood and 118 chainsaw machines had been retrieved from 37 illegal chainsaw operators in the area.

The Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, has proposed to the government to sanction a shoot-to-kill system to ward off illegal chainsaw operators from degrading the forests.
He said such a decision could also help protect members of the joint military-police forestry task force from attacks, especially in the Sefwi Wiaso and the Juaboso areas in the Western Region.

According to him, the only way the “nation wreckers” could be stopped from their illegal activities to preserve the country’s forest reserves was for the government to sanction the shoot-to-kill system by the task force.
His proposal followed the latest attack on a military officer and a member of the task force at Sefwi Wiaso.

The suspect, Rahama Bawa, popularly called Wazinga, has since been sentenced to a two-year jail term by the Sefwi Wiaso Magistrate Court.
His accomplices were, however, granted bail.

Tour

Mr Afriyie was speaking during a visit to the area to have first-hand information on the operations of the joint task force. He was accompanied the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh.
Mr Afriyie commended members of the task force and the Head of the Forestry Commission at Sefwi, Nana Bossompem, for their resilience and hard work .

Arrest

During an interaction with members of the task force, it was established that Bawa was rearrested after he had escaped from hospital with the injuries he had sustained during a shootout with members of the task force.
In all,15,000 pieces of processed wood and 118 chainsaw machines had been retrieved from 37 illegal chainsaw operators in the area.

Auction

Mr Afriyie said a court order would be sought to auction the seized processed wood, including what was loaded on trucks which were intercepted along the Kumasi-Accra road.


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He said the commission was also waiting for financial clearance from the Ministry of Finance to employ between 500 and 1,000 trained forest guards to help protect the forests.

Depletion of forest

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, said the nation’s forests were being depleted at a very fast rate and called for collaborative efforts by all stakeholders to address the situation.


He observed that for the illegal operators to be able to install various machines in the forest to process wood without the knowledge of the indigenes meant that there were some unseen hands protecting them.


The Omanhene of the Sefwi Wiaso Traditional Area, Katakyie Nana Kwasi Buman Kama Bedietuo II, said if the menace of illegal chainsaw operations was not tackled vigorously, the forests would be depleted in the next two years.


Mr Afriyie said a court order would be sought to auction the seized processed wood, including what was loaded on trucks which were intercepted along the Kumasi-Accra road.

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He said the commission was also waiting for financial clearance from the Ministry of Finance to employ between 500 and 1,000 trained forest guards to help protect the forests.

Depletion of forest

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, said the nation’s forests were being depleted at a very fast rate and called for collaborative efforts by all stakeholders to address the situation.


He observed that for the illegal operators to be able to install various machines in the forest to process wood without the knowledge of the indigenes meant that there were some unseen hands protecting them.


The Omanhene of the Sefwi Wiaso Traditional Area, Katakyie Nana Kwasi Buman Kama Bedietuo II, said if the menace of illegal chainsaw operations was not tackled vigorously, the forests would be depleted in the next two years.