Penyem Community Forest Encroached by Intruders


By Louise Jobe

The community of Penyem in the Kombo Central District of the West Coast Region have complained bitterly of the pillaging and cutting down of the country’s native natural trees within their community’s forest.

The VDC Committee members on Saturday, 2nd May 2020, convened a meeting to brainstorm on how to curb the illegal cutting down of trees by what they called unscrupulous individuals.

According to the VDC Committee’s Secretary Bakary Kujabi, their community forest has been devastated by unscrupulous people over the years; that most of the indigenous trees notably mahogany, had been destroyed and at times bulldozed, causing irreparable damage to the ecosystem.

All those who spoke at the VDC meeting expressed disappointment and anger on the indiscriminate cutting down of trees within their community forest.

Kalilu Colley, the Alkalo of Penyem village warned villagers and intruders to desist from destroying the livelihood of the village; that importance of the forest cannot be over emphasized. He added the community forest impacts positively on the lives of villagers; that the forest is a big tourist attraction especially for bird watchers. He urged the youth of the village to patrol the forest and protect it from wood poachers; that anybody caught destroying their forest will face the full force of the Law.

Yahya Jatta, the VDC Chairperson expressed similar remarks. Jatta said the Bird Watchers’ Association recognised the importance of the Penyem Community forest and as a result provided two bicycles to them to ease the patrol of the forest by volunteer youth of the village.