Selasa, 23 April 2013


The Center for the Management of Impact of Climate Change (CeMICC), an environmental Non-Governmental Organization has observed with great concern and outrage, a seemingly disastrous development which if not stopped would lead to a situation where Ghana’s already fast depleting forest reserves will totally disappear as a result of the activities of chain saw operators, illegal surface miners, illegal farmers in the forest and other criminals.

These miscreants have resorted to killing forest guards and rangers who have been legally employed by the Government of Ghana in their bid to plunder the little remaining forest.

They have been physically attacking and killing forest guards in cold blood in their quest to extract precious resourced from nature.

The Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission has a core function to protect, manage and develop forest resources in the national interest and for the benefit of owners.

In pursuance of this, the Division has a duty to take necessary steps to prevent the commission of an offence under the Forest Protection Act 1974, National Redemption Council Decree (NRCD) 243.

Under this same Act, Forest Guards and Rangers are permitted to arrest persons who are reasonably suspected to have committed or are concerned in as act under the Act.

Offences under the Act include

             • Felling, uprooting, tapping or damaging a tree or timber in the forest reserve without permission of the competent forest authority

             • Making or cultivating a farm or erecting a building in a forest reserve without written authority

             • Causing damage by negligence in felling a tree or cutting or removing timber in the forest without written authority

             • Setting fire to grass or herbage or kindling of fire without taking due precaution, etc.

In summary, the offences can be described ordinarily as illegal chainsawing, encroachment or illegal mining also known as galamsey.

A survey conducted by CeMICC in the first quarter of 2013, has revealed that not less than five barbaric attacks had been waged on forest guards and rangers in the Ashanti region alone as nationwide attacks are being tabulated.

The situation had become more dangerous with the entry of illegal mining business by foreigners, especially Chinese, who backed by Ghanaian partners wiled deadly weapons.

These weapons included assault rifles, machete and clubs which indicated that they were ever ready to kill anyone who tried to stop them from plundering forest reserves.

In January 2013, a range supervisor and two forest guards were brutally assaulted when they attempted to arrest illegal chainsaw operators, who were destroying the forest without authorization at Nkranpo near Sekyereduamsi in the Mampong Forest District.

Also in the same month, some forestry officials were brutally beaten when they attempted to drive out illegal farmers from the Anumso Forest Reserve.

These illegal farmers have erected cottages in the forest reserve without authorization. In an attempt to ward them off, the forest guards were pounced upon and brutally assaulted with machetes. One guard nearly had his hand severed off.

In February 2013, a combined team of military and forestry guards were nearly lynched by a mob at Koniyaw in the Bosomtwi Forest Reserve in Bekwai. The team had gone there to stop the operations of a gang who were massively engaged in illegal surface mining activities.

The gang mounted a road block, captured the forest petrol team and gave them the thrashing of their lives with clubs and machetes. They were only rescued when a police reinforcement team was called in. Injuries sustained by the two soldiers were too severe that they had to be hospitalized for months at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.

In March 2013, a Range Supervisor, Kwame Owusu and two Forest Guards were captured by an armed gang at the Tinte Bepo Forest Reserve, near Abesewa where they had gone to check about illegal chainsaw operations in the reserve.

They were overpowered by a gang armed with machetes and shot guns and subjected to severe beatings by the gang and made to load vehicles of the gang which they had looted.

Perharps, the most disastrous of the deadly assaults so far in the Ashanti Region is the killing of one e Kwaswo Wireko, a Forest Guard in the Offinso District was shot and killed whilst on duty in the Afram Headwaters Forest Reserve near Abofour.

He had gone there on usual patrolling duties and the poor man never returned home. He is believed to have been shot and killed at close range.

There are many more of such incidents in the country. Many happen unheard of whilst others are taken for granted, and loosely considered to be occupational hazards.

The question is who gets employed and lowered into the lion’s den to be devoured? Who seeks employment knowing that he is going to be sent, unarmed, to face armed gangs?

The values of forest are far too much to be enumerated here. Forests provide clothing, food, and shelter in ways several books will have to contain.

They act as carbon sinks by way of absorbing excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Forests provide medicine for humanity and provide habitats to animals. They protect water bodies and generally add aesthetic values to life and Ghana derived tremendous revenue from wood exports whilst creating employment for millions of people.

In recognition of this, Government through the Forestry Commission established forest guards to protect the valuable natural resourced so that Ghanaians will continue to enjoy life naturally.

Why then should we allow people to kill these innocent guards who are simply protecting our common heritage?

There are over 220 forest reserves in Ghana and these attacks only happened in five reserves. What would be the situation should it be allowed to continue in other reserves? Your guess is as good as mine.

There is therefore the need for Government as a matter of urgency, arm forest guard and rangers to give them some level of security in the discharge of their duties

Policemen and the military are feared basically because they carry firearms and can shoot to kill if attacked.

The guards should also be made to patrol in groups of five or six at all times to avoid a scenario where one guard could easily be ambushed and killed.

Forestry guards, from the nature of their work and the harm they are exposed to, need military training to equip them well to conform some of these dangers.

Also, in cases where guards have lost their lives in the course of discharging their duties, their families and other dependents must be taken care of by government, especially those who have children in school.

Ghana’s forest resources are already degrading fast and therefore those who have out their lives at stake to halt this unhealthy trend must be protected.

1 komentar:

  1. Human are the real destructor. They cant love each other, they just want to make themselves superior than the other potongan rambut pendek