Illegal loggers and charcoal burners invade public forests
Posted Thursday, August 2 2012 at 21:15
Acres of forest have been illegally destroyed by charcoal burners and timber merchants in Elgeyo-Marakwet County in the past one week.
Cartels involved in the destruction in Kerio Valley are operating on the strength of valid permits issued by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) office in Baringo.
Residents of Mon, Kibaimwa and Kiptumbur locations yesterday decried the destruction of forests lying on community trust land fearing that this would adversely affect the environment.
“The business is so vicious given that hired casuals possess power saws that make the destruction so easy,” said Simeon Cheserek, the Mon location chief.
Kerio Valley Police chief Simeon Njoroge said the loggers possess valid documents from KFS allowing them to harvest trees or transport charcoal.
“We cannot arrest anyone cutting trees, transporting timber or charcoal as long as he or she has a valid permit from the government,” said Mr Njoroge.
However, he said it was unusual that the permits were issued in Baringo whereas the forests are in Elgeyo-Marakwet.
“We believe there is collusion between the loggers and the Baringo County KFS office,” he said.
Baringo KFS zonal Manager Daniel Too said some associations, which were issued with the permits, may have been up to some mischief.
“I suspect some three permits we issued. I have asked the police to furnish me with the details of the permits,” said the forester. Charcoal business is rife in the region where one sack of the commodity goes for between Sh800 and Sh1,000.