Suspects arrested over charcoal burning

Thirty suspected charcoal burners were on Thursday arrested after police raided Kedong ranch in Naivasha sub-county.

The operation to crack down on illegal loggers and charcoal burners was led by area sub-county Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Isaac Masinde who said that a special unit had been formed to patrol all the affected areas.

Masinde warned that anyone found engaging in logging and charcoal burning in the surrounding ranches or government forests in the area would be arrested and prosecuted.

The arrests came as it emerged that charcoal burners were taking advantage of the expansive nature of the ranches that borders three counties to carry out their illegal activities.

Masinde regretted that illegal loggers had infiltrated the area and destroyed key Lake Naivasha catchment areas which were also affected by the prolonged dry spell that has dried most of the main rivers in the area.

The crackdown will continue and our officers will work round the clock to combat the illegal trade, Masinde said.

He added that the ban applied across the board both in small and large private and government forests such as the Mau, noting that they were committed to ensuring that it was followed to the letter.

Masinde said the suspects nabbed would be arraigned in court to face various charges including that of trespassing into private farms.

He at the same time, revisited last week’s issue where close to 200 mature Acacia trees were cut down on the directive of Kenya power officials at Kihoto area a few kilometers from Naivasha town.

The DCC said that his office has summoned the officer in charge of the company in the area to explain on whose authority he was acting upon.

The administrator said no one had the authority to cut down the trees that acted as key catchment to Lake Naivasha, adding that his office issued a directive for the company to stop felling more trees in the name of creating a route for power lines.

He said the government was investigating the matter and would take appropriate action if it was found that the right procedures were not followed.

Source: Kenya News Agency