Poachers, Charcoal burners arrested

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The department of forestry in collaboration with Machinga police and game range officers conducted a joint operation from 12 to 14 March in a bid to reduce the destruction of forests products.

The three day operation which was led by Machinga district forestry officer Paul Muhosha led to the arrest of charcoal burners and people who were hunting for animal in reserved areas.

ArrestedAuthorities seized 42 bags of charcoal valued at K63, 000 and 17 suspects were arrested on the offence of being found in possession of forest produce without permission contrary to section 68(a) of the Forest Act, while two of them were arrested for hunting animals in forest reserves without permission which is contrary to section 43 of the Forest Act respectively.

In court, third grade magistrate Loveness Usale said the cases of destroying natural resources are serious ones since they are leading to climate change.

She then commanded 12 of the offenders to pay K15,000 each or spend six months in jail with hard labour in default, while the remaining five were fined K20,000 each or to spend eight months in prison.

In an interview with this publication, Machinga police spokesperson Davie Sulumba advised the public to conserve the forests and further urged them to plant trees in order to replace the lost trees.

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