Chief Chamuka Impounds truck of timber

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Chief Chamuka of the Lenje speaking people in Central Province has impounded a truck carrying illegally cut timber in his Chiefdom.

The timber which was illegally cut from the indigenous trees called Nkhula and Chiwala in lyatumba village was intercepted by the chief at the weekend after he noticed a suspicious looking truck concealed in tents.

The Chief disclosed that illegal cutting of trees was rampant in his chiefdom and accused the local people who were allegedly conniving with business men from Lusaka to cut down trees and later sell the timber to Chinese nationals.

He said the Nkhula trees are the most endangered species because they posses high quality timber and are highly marketable for both local and foreign markets.

He added that the tree trunk is hard and is used for making scavings, making tiles and  legs for beds.

And the owner of the truck only identified as a Mr Hamweene told the chief that he had decided to join in the illegal trading of timber because it was unfair for people to come from Lusaka and make money while the locals continued suffering.

However, the chief has since appealed to his subjects to stop the illegal cutting and trading of timber adding that trees were vital for agriculture purposes as they help in providing rain and were also vital in fostering good climate.

He said it is important for people who want to engage timber production to obtain licenses from the forestry department.

Chief Chamuka has also appealed to companies dealing in timber especially those getting timber from his chiefdom to come up with deliberate policies to start planting trees where they are cutting.

And in a separate operation, Chisamba District Forestry department also impounded a Hino light truck registration number ABV 1695 carrying four cubic meters of logs illegally cut from Nkhula and Chiwala trees.

And Chisamba District Forestry Officer Nicholas Chilo said the two will be fined between K900 and K1500.

He said according to Forestry Act Chapter 199 of the Laws of Zambia, conveying timber without Forestry License is an offence.

Mr. Chilo disclosed that the Nkhula and Chiwala trees in Chisamba are at risk of extinction because of their multipurpose nature.

He said the two species are rare and grow in the hills and have a good quality of timber.

According to the offenders identified as Steven Banda and Chephas Njobvu both of Chazanga compound in Lusaka, the timber is sold to a Chinese firm in Kamanga compound.

However, the Forestry department in Chisamba is working with the traditional leaders to sensitize the local people about the importance of trees and the effects of charcoal burning.