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HomeLocal NewsSeven hundred attack, destroy forest in Nechsar National Park

Seven hundred attack, destroy forest in Nechsar National Park

Thousands of people from the Meche Woreda, around Arbamnich, destroyed thousands of hectares of forest during two confrontations. Around 700 people were damaging the park until the security forces hampered the destruction. On the next day many residents came back and destroyed more property.
The individuals who deforested the park said they were allowed to live there and that the regional heads gave them permission.
The day before this occurred, representatives from the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) held talks with residents after reports of threats from park administrators. The Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples region (SNNPR) reported to EWCA that it conducted research indicating there are 101 hectares of land outside the park. The zonal, woreda and regional government parties talked about the issue and formed a committee consisting of nine individuals to study the problem and list findings.
However, just after the federal team left the city several buses transporting residents came to the area. They got off and went to the park and spent six hours destroying it. The Federal Police, National Defense Force and Regional Special Forces came in to stabilize the situation around noon, according to Shemeles Zenebe, head of the park. The area under attack was near the park office.
Regional representatives said that the eastern part of the park was invaded by multiple farmers from the Oromiya region.
The staff managing the park says that even if there is no area ratified by the House of Peoples Representatives (HPR), there is a demarcation of 514sqm, inside the park’s jurisdiction.
“We didn’t find any wildlife killed yet but a large amount of forest is destroyed,” said Shemels.
The region ordered police to release suspects under the police custody, said Solomon. “The suspects were those who transported people from various locations to the park in the early morning and police have credible evidence to arrest them”, he added. “We used to believe the region was part of the solution until its latest act of directly ordering the security forces to release people.”
“If the claims from the SNNP that there are many farmers residing in the park illegally are true then the solution is not doing the same thing over and over instead we should work to save the life of the forest,”  said Solomon. “Resource competition can harm the country and the local population as well.”
After the last destruction happened the federal government communicated to the regional government to halt the problem, which finally led the Zonal Cabinet gathering to address the problem.
The park which is located between the Oromia Regional State and the SNNP is known for zebras and giraffes.
“The situation is under control but a lot of damage has been left behind,” said Shemeles. “There should be sustainable measures put in place to solve the crisis,” he told Capital.


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