Police in Lilongwe have arrested 11 people for cutting down trees in the protected Dzalanyama Forest Reserve without a permit.
Lilongwe Police Station spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula said the 11 were arrested on April 23 2016 during the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and Malawi Defence Force (MDF) joint operation to flush out people who are illegally cutting down trees in the forest reserve.
“They were arrested as they were cutting the trees into pieces for charcoal burning,” said Dandaula.
The suspects have since been charged with destroying forest produce without permit contrary to Section 46 as read with Section 64 of the Forestry Act.
Early this month, six people were also arrested for cutting trees from the same forest and were fined K30 000 ($44) each or in default serve six months imprisonment.
Three of the six failed to pay the fine and are currently serving six months jail terms at Maula Prison in Lilongwe.
Dzalanyama Forest Reserve is not only a tourist attraction which brings forex into the country, but also a source of water for Lilongwe and surrounding areas.