Officials of the Forestry Services Division (FSD) of the Forestry Commission have arrested four illegal chainsaw operators who entered the Mpameso Forest Reserve in the Dormaa Forest District to harvest 18 trees.
They are Amadu Moro, Shadrack Mensah, Kwabena Albert and Kwame Joe.
The Bono Regional Manager of the FSD, Dr Ebenezer Djagbletey, told the Daily Graphic that officials of the division had a tip-off about the activities of the alleged chainsaw operators but when they went into the reserve, they could not match the strength of the suspects.
The FSD officials, therefore, returned to restrategise and went back to the reserve with some security personnel in the wee hours of Sunday, July 7, 2019.
Dr Djagbletey said the team met the four deep in the reserve busily sawing the logs in the night.
According to him, there was also a vehicle parked nearby ready to cart the wood out of the forest.
Police take over
Dr Djagbletey said even though some of the illegal chainsaw operators ran away, the team was able to arrest the four and they handed them over to the police for further action.
The four are currently on police bail pending the completion of investigations and possible prosecution.
The regional FSD manager said the chainsaw machines and a motorbike which were used by the suspects were impounded, while the tyres of the vehicle were deflated by the security personnel.
He said efforts were being made to speed up the prosecution of the culprits to discourage persons who harboured any intention to enter the forest reserves in the region to engage in chainsaw activities.
Dr Djagbletey said it was unfortunate that while huge sums of money were being committed by the government to help restore the nation’s forest cover, some miscreants were bent on reversing the gains so far chalked up through their nefarious activities.
He called on members of the various forest fringe communities to collaborate with officials in their efforts to protect the reserves for posterity.