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3 Forestry Workers Killed by Illegal Miners in 2023

The Forestry Commission has reported that three of their workers perished at the hands of armed men illegally mining in forest reserves in the country last year.

These officers carrying out their normal duties were shot to death, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Mr Sulemana Nelson told the members of the National House of Chiefs during a joint dialogue.

The dialogue held on January 25 also featured, the Minerals Commission, and the Water Resource Commission to devise viable measures for the fight against illegal mining which has almost depleted all the country’s forest reserves and destroyed water bodies.

In his address, Mr Nelson said, “By law, small-scale mining is not allowed in forest reserves; however, galamsey has found its way into our forest reserves and it’s done with impunity, especially in the high forest zones. This has a number of repercussions.”

According to him, the uniform of their officers which some time ago was enough to scare off illegal miners, no longer works as perpetrators tend to station armed men around them leading to lethal confrontations with officers of the Commission.

Such encounters, he revealed, have claimed the lives of some of their staff while others have been injured under similar circumstances.

“People who encroach in forest reserves now are usually armed and this is exposing our staff and workers to many dangers. Last year, three of our staff were gunned down and lost their lives miserably. There are a number of staff also who have been maimed in the line of duty.”

This has proven a challenge to their mandate in protecting the country’s vegetative cover but said his outfit is willing to deliver their quota to support the fight.

“We believe an important aspect of working to resolve this problem has to do with collaborating with all important institutions such as this house. The chiefs are custodians and owners of our lands and anything on the land.”

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