Nine arrested for encroaching Champhira in Mzimba

Police at Jenda have arrested nine people for encroaching, conveying and possessing weapons within Champhira Reserve Forest in Mzimba, Jenda Police publicist Martha Samali discloses in a statement.

Police say the suspects are identified as John Nyirongo 35, Dako Mwale 35, Dennis Mafuleka 47, Golden Phiri 34, Yohane Nyirongo 37, Nation Phiri 24, Manuel Saka 37 and Grace Chunda 42.

"They were found within the protected area after Police conducted a joint operation with officials from Mzimba District Forestry office, Champhira Water Users Committee and concerned villagers surrounding the forest reserve.

"In the course of their duties, they intercepted the said suspects doing illegal activities like burning charcoal in the forest," said Samali.

The encroachers were burning charcoal in the forest reserve

The suspects will appear in court soon to answer charges of being found conveying and possessing weapons in a protected area contrary to Section 43(1) as read with Section 71(1) of the Forestry Act.

Meanwhile, Police are warning the community that they will arrest and bring to justice those who encroach into the protected areas.

The Police further advise the community to protect the Reserve by avoiding cutting down trees and burning charcoal.