Illegal logging in Marakwet Forest continues despite 90 day logging ban

Residents living adjacent to Embobut forest have decried continued logging in the forest despite heavy presence of Kenya Forest Services (KFS) officers in the set KFS camps.

The residents led by Elias Kimaiyo said indigenous trees at the forest especially cedar species was being felled under the watch of Kenya Forest Service officers despite the ban on logging imposed by Environment CS Keriako Tobiko.

He told KNA over the phone from Embobut on Sunday that the residents spotted the chopped cedar posts in the forest, took photos and circulated them on social media and when the officers got wind of it they transported the logs to their camps.

He asked the government to withdraw the KFS officers and involve locals in the management of the forest since they have been living next to the forest for centuries and they have a system of managing it.

Right now as we speak there are power saws cutting trees in the forest and we have KFS officers at the ground that is why we are saying they should leave so that we manage our forest as a community, he said.

Elgeyo Marakwet County Conservator Antony Musyoka said Monday that the discovered cedar posts by the residents belonged to a licensed saw miller and the logs were being guarded by KFS officers.

He said 350 cedar posts had also been recovered by KFS officers and were transported to the KFS camps.

Other posts still lay in the forest waiting to be transported to the camps after the roads became impassable following the short rains, he added.

He said that one person who was found with similar posts to those recovered from the forest had been arrested and investigations to the matter were on adding that the arrested person will be arraigned in court.

Source: Kenya News Agency