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Kenya Forest Service officers arrest tycoon for destroying mangrove forest

COAST
By Nehemiah Okwembah | August 24th 2020
Gazi Women Mangrove Boardwalk, Kwale, Kilifi. [Jenipher Wachie/Standard]

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) officers in Magarini sub-county have arrested an 'investor' for cutting down more than 40 acres of mangrove trees at Garithe.

The 'investor' is accused of clearing the mangrove forest so as to invest in a 2,000-acre salt harvesting venture.

Benjamin Were, the coast regional commandant of KFS in charge of enforcement, confirmed the arrest, adding that they were tipped off about the destruction of the mangroves by the public.

"We started pursuing him and arrested him at the DCC's office in Magarini where he had gone for a meeting and he will be taken to court on Monday,” said Mr Were.

He said his office was currently doing evaluation of the destruction in order to charge him. Kilifi County Ecosystem Conservator Elvis Fondo said that the arrest was a lesson to others who destroy forests.

He said mangrove forests are endangered that is why the community is watching over any destruction with a view to arresting any suspect.

"The suspect purported to be an investor but we have found out that he has no documents," he said. Mr Fondo said they estimate the destruction was about 20 hectares of Vicinia mangrove species.

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