The Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander General Griffin Supuni-Phiri on Tuesday declared war on people found destroying the environment for personal gain, especially those cutting down trees for charcoal making.
Speaking when he launched a tree planting exercise at Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe, Supuni-Phiri said deforestation can have many consequences on the populations that depend on forests for their livelihood.
“Apart from protecting the country from external enemies, MDF has a constitutional obligation to protect the country from internal enemies. Deforestation is a huge security risk. It leads to conflict,” he said.
Apart from a huge battalion of soldiers, the tree planting ceremony was attended by over 2 000 school-going children, Lilongwe City mayor Desmond Bikoko and member of Parliament for the area Bentley Namasasu.
“For us as MDF to carry out proper training and acclimatise ourselves to the habitat of the enemy, we need forest cover. We train in forests and we cannot allow our forests to disappear.
“We have a memorandum of understanding with the government through the Department of Forestry. We are at war with those people found deliberately destroying our country’s environment. We will fight professionally to ensure the practice stops,” said the MDF boss.
In his remarks, Bikoko thanked MDF for taking a leading role in preserving the environment.
Director of Forestry Clement Chilima also thanked MDF for their role in protecting forests in Salima, Mangochi, Dzalanyama, Chikangawa and Mulanje. n