Security officers in Trans Nzoia County have launched a crackdown on timber yards in Kitale Municipality and Kiminini Township following an increase in cases of illegal logging in gazetted forests.
The crackdown follows a recent logging of seventeen trees at Sikhendu block in Saboti Forest Station which has so far seen one Timber yard dealer arrested as part of the security operation.
“We received a tip off that this dealer was converting the logs to timber. We conducted a search and found him guilty of the accusation,” Trans Nzoia County Ecosystem Conservator George Abuto said.
Six unconverted logs of pinus species trees and ten tonnes of timber were confiscated by the Kenya Forest Service security officers who are working jointly with the police in the crackdown.
According to Mr. Abuto the pinus patula is among the endangered tree species that the government is working so hard to protect.
“We are warning all the illegal dealers that their days are numbered. We are very alert and we will pursue all the leads related to illegal activities logging,” said the conservator.
A special security team is conducting the crackdown which seeks to ensure all timber that is sold is certified and is from known sources that are permitted to sell.
“The suspect that is in our custody will be arraigned in court where he will be charged with removing and felling forest produce without the authority from the chief conservator of forests,” said Mr. Abuto.
He also warned any Kenya Forest Service officer that is involved in colluding with the rogue traders to destroy the trees of dire consequences once they are found culpable.
“We will endeavour to protect our forests since we have to safeguard our tree cover in the County and nobody will be spared irrespective of their position,” said the conservator.
Illegal activities account for the loss of tree cover in the region with most of the trees being converted into timber. He said that deforestation is a major problem in the County which has two water towers and is majorly relied on for food.
“The climate change we are experiencing and lamenting about is as a result of such illegal activities.”He added