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Crime & Punishment Wed, 13 Feb 2008

GNFS arrest 24 people for starting bush fires

Sunyani (B/A), Feb. 13, GNA- The Brong-Ahafo Regional Branch of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has arrested 24 persons in connection with their involvement in 240 bush fire cases recorded during the harmattan season. The culprits have been arraigned before the law courts for prosecution. Mr Richard Sagou, Brong-Ahafo Regional Administrative Officer of the Service, who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said 159 cases were recorded last December and 81 cases in January this year. He said the culprits were arrested through exercises conducted by the task force, fire educationists and fire volunteers. The Regional Administrative Officer noted that the fire outbreaks were caused by smoking, group hunting and farmers, who cooked on their farms but left the fire unquenched. Mr Sagou promised to follow the cases at the court to ensure that the culprits received the appropriate punishment to set as an example to others. He pledged to intensify public campaign on the prevention of bush fires so that the people would desist from such activities during the harmattan season. Mr Sagou noted with concern that there was only one fire tender for Sunyani, Techiman and Wenchi Municipalities, as well as Kintampo and Nkoranza districts. Other towns that have faulty tenders are Goaso, Hwidiem, Duayaw- Nkwanta, Seikwa, Atebubu and Dormaa-Ahenkro, whilst Japekrom, Yeji and Sampa districts lack the facility, stressing this was a major challenge to the Service. He indicated that the support from the government alone was not enough and called on the public to come to their aid. The Administrative Officer appealed to companies, philanthropists, NGOs and individuals to support the Service by providing Wellington boots and machetes to the fire volunteers in the communities to enhance their work. Mr Sagou urged communities to form fire volunteers to assist the Service in its operations and asked them to report all those responsible for causing bush fires to the appropriate authorities. He lauded the attitude of community members, who helped to arrest culprits in the various communities.

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Source: GNA
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