2 held for plundering forest reserve

Two men believed to be key members of a notorious gang of illegal chain-saw operators plundering portions of the Esukawkaw forest reserve in the Eastern region, have been arrested and are helping the Mpraeso Police in their investigations.

Kojo Obeng, 40, and Kofi Stephen, 24, both from Abomosu, were caught processing a big Dahoma tree into lumber last Monday, at about 2 p.m.

Three other accomplices, however, managed to escape, but their chain-saw machine was impounded.

According to Mr. Robert Deri, Mpraeso District Manager of the Forest Services Division (FSD), illegal chain-saw operators, had for some time now, been undertaking destructive timber operations in the sprawling forest reserve.

Many measures instituted by both the Eastern Regional and district offices of FSD to help check the situation led to the arrest and prosecution of some culprits, but the notorious ones continued with their illegal activities.

The trend, he said, compelled the forestry officials to adopt more pragmatic security measures, including the formation of a joint team of forestry staff and volunteers from the forest-fringe communities to undertake an intensive patrol of the reserve.

In the course of one of their patrols in the Abomosu portion of the reserve last Monday, the team found five men, including the two suspects, sawing an illegally felled huge Dahoma tree into lumber.

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