Forest Guard severely injured at Chikala in Machinga after confronting charcoal burners

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Forest Guard severely injured at Chikala in Machinga after confronting charcoal burners
Forest Guard severely injured at Chikala in Machinga after confronting charcoal burners

Africa-Press – Malawi. One forest guard from Chikala in Machinga has been severely injured after being cut on his left cheek with a panga knife during confrontation with charcoal burners.

Currently, the Department of Forestry has not disclosed the name of the guard who was taken to St Luke Hospital for medical support and seven of those intruders were arrested before the confrontation, earlier on Tuesday.

In his response, Director of Forestry Titus Zulu has emphasized on the need to enhance security by working closely with relevant stakeholders including law enforcement agencies and local communities, to strengthen security measures in forest reserves.

“We need their support and deploy additional security personnel, equipment and implementing strategies to deter and address confrontations with illegal loggers or other hostile groups.” explained Zulu.

On the other hand, Zulu expressed the need to facilitate trainings and capacity buildings to the forest gurads with adequate resources to handle challenging situations effectively.

“We will prioritize training programs that focus on conflict resolution, communication skills, and self-defense to enhance the safety and effectiveness of our patrol teams.”

In addition, he said the department will carry out more community engagement, regular review and evaluation, collaborative partnerships.

He has however emphasized that the Department of Forestry remains steadfast in our commitment to preserving and protecting Malawi’s precious natural resources and appreciate the dedication and bravery of forest patrol teams and will continue to provide them with the necessary support and resources.

Meanwhile, Environmental Activist Mathews Malata has advised government through the department of forestry to recruit more forest guards and give them adequate resources.

Malata explains that improvement of community engagement will support the fight against degradation and conserve the forest cover.

“The forest wars are deepening and because of resource competition it will get worse.”He said.

The activist has further said climate change is another “threat multiplier” as people lose their livelihoods everyday. “The raging dry spell makes the whole equation a bit more complex. We must be vigilant.”

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