A joint operation by the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) and the Malawi Police Service (MPS) at Dzalanyama forest on Saturday led to the arrest of 11 people who were felling trees in the forest, police say.
Police Spokesperson Inspector Kingsley Dandaula said the 11 people, who are charcoal burners, were cutting down trees without a permit or license.
Police have since charged the charcoal burners with Destroying Forest Produce without permit or license contrary to section 46 as read with section 64 of the Forestry Act.
The country’s security forces have for the past year been conducting operations in the forest to rid it of people who cut trees. The goal is to preserve the forest which is a tourist attraction and is also a source of water for Lilongwe and surrounding areas.
Early this month, six people were arrested for cutting trees from the same forest and were fined K30, 000 or in default to serve six months in jail with hard labour.
However, three people did not manage to pay the fine and are serving the six-month jail term at Maula Prison in Lilongwe.