Kenya: Destruction of Kijabe Forest

Environmentalists have raised the red flag over the massive destruction of Kijabe forest by loggers and charcoal burners. There are now fears of a major mudslide in the forest which could see communities leaving downhill and mainly around Kijabe Mission Hospital affected.

A visit to the forest established boulders hanging dangerous as heavy rains continue to ponder the area.

Issuing the warning the National coordinator Kenya Forest Working Group Mr Rudolf Makhanu said on going rains could cause a mudslide in the area. He said that massive soil erosion had occurred in sections of the forest due to massive logging and charcoal burning.

According to him, there was reluctance by the law enforcers to deal with the loggers and charcoal burners hence the destruction.

Locals echoed the sentiments admitting that they were leaving in fear due to some boulders that were hanging dangerously. They added that despite reporting the matter to the provincial administration no action was taken with logging going on openly.

According to Reverend Simon Muhota from Kijabe Mission Hospital, the region was already experiencing water shortage due to deforestation. He said that the locals had embarked on conserving the forest through bee-keeping and nature trails as one way of keeping out the loggers. “We are currently leaving in fear over mudslide due to the destruction of the forest which has left a big sections open to the ongoing rains,”

Reverend John Njoru from Kijabe accused some senior people in the region of using trains to ferry logs from the forest. “We have noticed that some well connected people are using cargo trains to ferry the logs from the forest and we call on the minister concerned to intervene,”

The author is KLN’s Rift Valley Correspondent. You can contact him atjmarwam(at)gmail.com

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