District and national stakeholders meet on Kangarie Hills Forest Reserve



District and national stakeholders, including Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Dr Joseph Sam Sesay, has met to discuss issues of deforestation and illegal mining in the Kangarie Hills Forest Reserve.

The stakeholders, including security bosses, local councils and traditional rulers, discussed the outcome of an inter-district security meeting that had been conveyed between southern and northern provincial administrations.

It could be recalled that on 1st November, a high level delegation of stakeholders from Bo district converged at Bawomahun in Valunya chiefdom, where an inter-district security meeting between southern and northern provincial administrations was held to discuss possible means of protecting forest reserve areas in the Kangari hills, where illicit gold mining is said to be rampant.

The stakeholders discussed the implementation of recommendations from the 1st November meeting.

According to the recommendations, Government should dissolve or put a stop to ongoing illicit mining of gold in the Kangari Hills forest reserve; mines monitors to be removed from operating within the forest reserve on the ground that the reserve is not a mining concession area; the Agriculture Ministry should take primacy and full responsibility to protect the Kangari Hills forest  reserve  and put  modalities  in place  for  cadastral survey  of the  forest  boundary and subsequent rehabilitation of the reserve; the Agriculture  Ministry  should  facilitate and strengthen the deployment of a joint security team  of soldiers, police and forest  guards within the Kangari hills forest  reserve; and design of a joint security plan to oversee the demolition of all gold  mining camps within the  reserve and eviction of illicit miners therein.

Speaking, presidential adviser, Dr. Sheku  Kamara,  said the Kangari hills was  demarcated  as a forest reserve in 1924, thus no one has any mandate  to explore  or undertake  mining  and other human activities in the reserve.

According to Chief Executive Officer of the National Protected Park Authority, Dr. Korleh Bangura, disforestation has serious diversifying impacts. He said protecting forest reserves was key to attracting tourists, citing Kenya as a notable example.

Chiefdom authorities in Valunya chiefdom recommended that soldiers be deployed to remove illegal miners at the reserve.

Dr. Sesay assured of government’s commitment to ensuring that the entire Kangari hills reserve is reclaimed by his ministry.

The meeting was chaired by Joseph Munda Bindi, chairman of Bo District Council.