Kumasi, March 5, GNA- The Forestry Commission on Friday presented a cheque for 10 million cedis to Mr Kwame Nsiah, the 36-year-old volunteer, who lost his right arm whilst assisting the staff of the Commission to evacuate from the Offin Shelterbelt Forest Reserve, a large quantity of illegally sawn lumber in March 2002.
A group of volunteers including the victim were mobilised by the Nkawie district office of the Forestry Services Division (FSD) to help convey the seized lumber from the reserve when they were ambushed and attacked with guns by about eight heavily armed men.
During the confrontation, Mr Nsiah was shot and critically wounded in the right arm resulting in its amputation at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) where he was rushed for medical attention.
Presenting the cheque to him in Kumasi, Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, the Ashanti Regional Minister, said it was regrettable that Mr Nsiah should suffer such permanent deformity at the hands of illegal chainsaw operators.
He noted that illegal timber operations, was a major challenge that should be tackled to save the nation's forest and its resources from destruction.
He called on all, particularly, people in forest fringe communities to be more supportive and join in clamping down on those engaged in illegal timber activities. Mr Boafo said the nation could not simply afford to watch helplessly as the forest and its resources were destroyed. Mr Atta Owusu, Ashanti Regional manager of the FSD, said apart from the cheque, the Commission had also paid 4.9 million cedis as medical bills of the victim.
Mr Kwasi Aniagyei, father of Mr Nsiah, said the family was grateful to the Commission but would have wished it could assist him to find a permanent job that would enable him support himself and his dependants. 5 March 04