We’ll defend ourselves if poachers continue to shoot us – Forestry C’ssion

The Forestry Commis­sion (FC) has warned that henceforth the forest guards will defend themselves if poachers continue to shoot their staff in their line of duty.

Mr John Allotey, Chief Execu­tive of the Commission, gave the warning on Thursday, December 22, 2022 at the annual Chief Exec­utive’s end-of-year media briefing at the head office of the Commis­sion at Achimota in Accra.

Two of the Commission’s staff were shot by poachers on Thurs­day when they were performing their round duties in the reserves at night.

“In spite of all these, the Com­mission will continue to protect the forest and the wildlife resources, but we will not let our people be shot at so when they are confront­ed with such difficulties they will defend themselves and as I speak they have been equipped with 1,000 pieces of weapons and am­munitions,” Mr Allotey stressed.

He said he was not happy about the incident where two of his rang­ers were shot at separate locations the same day when they were on their rounds in the night.

According to him, one was shot in the chest at the Bomfibiri Wildlife Sanctuary at Kumawu in the Ashanti Region and was taken to the Effiduase Government Hospital for medical attention while the other one was shot in the thigh at the Shai Hills Resource Reserve and was also sent to the Tema General Hospital for medical attention.

In the case of the Shai Hills incident, he said two of the culprits have been apprehended and their weapons seized and hoped that they would be brought to book and face the law.

Mr Allotey said the forest guards go to the field working day and night ensuring that poachers do not go and kill the animals in the reserves.

He cautioned the general public and those who engage in poach­ing, illegal mining and logging to stop the practice of entering the reserves illegally and confronting the forest guards whose mandate was to protect the forest resources for the nation.

He indicated that the year was a difficult and challenging one which confronted the FC in the area of illegal mining and logging but with support from the sector ministry and other agencies they were able to bring the menace under control.

“It has not been easy confront­ing the illegal menace in the re­serves due to inadequate logistical support and in view of this the FC collaborated with the regional, metropolitan, municipal and dis­trict security councils to carry out their work,” he said.

Mr Allotey pointed out that, illegal mining does not only affect animals and the trees in the forest alone but also the water bodies as well.


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