As the operation to flash out illegal cultivators in Mt Elgon forest intensifies, two people have been arrested.
The duo were arrested by Kenya Forest Service officers in Cheptais.
They were arrested in Chesokwo area on Christmas day as they were busy harvesting charcoal after felling indigenous trees.
“The two arrested culprits were Charles Chepkech and John Kipyego, they were charged with illegal burning of charcoal in the state forest vide OB number 18/25/12/2020 1736hrs (Chesikaki police station),” read the OB.
The operation to flush out illegal settlers was led by KFS Regional commandant Harrison Afwata.
“We want to ensure this forest remains intact, we will not any human works to destroy it,” he said.
He added, “We will not entertain charcoal burning menace in order restore this forest,”.
Afwata said that after stopping any further illegal cultivation and settlement in the forest now they target charcoal burning menace.
“They tend to fell trees by burning charcoal in the illegally cleared areas for cultivation which is restoring it back,” he said.
He said that his officers are targeting charcoal burning during the operation to help restore back the forest cover.
This comes just a couple of days after the Chief Conservator of forests Julius Kamau visited the Kenya Forest Service Rangers deployed in operation camps in Cheptais in Mt Elgon region.
“I appreciate the the work of frontliners in helping in the reclamation, restoration and protection of the forest resources,” said Kamau.
He continued, “KFS has registered immense success over the past year through the efforts of our frontliners who are you our Forest Rangers out here in the field, and for that am truly grateful,”.
Kamau underscored how just in Six months, the Cheptais Operations Camp had managed to reclaim 4,000 hectares of land that had been encroached and secured it to restoration.