Lamu, KENYA: The Kenya Forestry Service-KFS officers in Lamu county have recovered eight tones of Bambaru wood estimated to be worth Sh.800,000 in Witu division, Lamu West.
Speaking early Friday morning, Witu Forest Station manager John Mbori said the timber was recovered at Maisha Masha area in Witu following a tip-off from members of the public.
Locals had earlier on reported of illegal timber harvesting activities inside the Boni forest.
Mbori said three loggers escaped on foot when the officers arrived but added that local police in the area were in hot pursuit.
“We have recovered about 8 tonnes of Bambaru wood. The wood has been discovered at Maisha Masha in Witu.The loggers fled shortly after discovering police were onto them but our officers are still pursuing them,” said Mbori.
Assistant Inspector-General of Police and Commander in charge of Operation in Boni forest, Douglas Kirocho warned that proceeds from timber and game meat have been known to sometimes generate revenue for terrorists.
Kirocho warned members of the public against engaging in such businesses.
“We will not entertain logging or any other activity which is against the laws of this country. We, therefore, warn the public that no effort shall be spared in stopping such illegal activities,” said Kirocho.
Lamu Ecosystem Conservator Evans Maneno said the Bambaru wood whose botanical name is ‘Terminallia Kilimandiscarica’ which grows alongside mangroves is an endangered species at the coast where its highly felled to make boats, furniture and building.
Maneno warned locals against disrespecting the ongoing logging ban adding that they are alert to ensure mangroves are protected and conserved.
“We need to conserve our environment including the trees. We won’t allow people to continue cutting down trees in our forests. Let’s respect the ongoing logging ban. We will take serious action against those who will be found conducting logging,” said Maneno.
The incident comes amidst efforts from conservationists to engage locals on the importance of growing the tree forest cover.
On Wednesday during the World Forest Day, the Save Lamu organization led locals in planting over 3000 mangrove seedlings at Kililana and Mokowe areas.
The recovery of the timber also comes just a month after the national government through Deputy President William Ruto imposed a 90 day ban on logging across the country.
The main objective of the logging ban is to fight environmental destruction, protect water towers and mitigate effects drought.