By Marilyn King
As part of their mandates which is enshrined in the National Protected Area Authority (NPAA) and Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2012, the NPAA has deployed newly recruited Game/Forest Guards to the South Eastern Region of the country.
This was done after a stakeholders engagement with the Office of National Security (ONS), the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) with support by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The communities to which the guards were deployed include: Ting Hills in Lei Chiefdom Kono Districts, Kamboi Hills in Kenema District, Tiwai Island between Barrie Chiefdom in Pujehun District and Koya Cheifdom in the Kenema District, and Bouhum Valunia Chiefdom in Bo District.
In his statements to the various communities the Law Enforcement Manager of NPAA, Dauda Langa Bangura explained the mandates of the Authority, as enshrined in the 2012 Act, noting that the authority cannot protect the forest all by itself and asked for the support of the communities and that they should work as a team to protect the forest.
He stated that there are lots of benefits if they continue to take good care of their forest.
The representative from UNDP, Mr. Moi Sawray stated that his organization will continue to support the Authority in its drive to protect the protected areas.
Representatives from ONS, SLP and RSLAF Senior Director, Francis Langobah Kailie, Inspector Brima Mohamed Kargbo and Lieutenant Ibrahim Billia Bangura respectively also made statements on the relationship between the NPAA and the security sector.
In his contribution, the Outreach and Communications Officer of NPAA, Cornelius Eku Randall tanked the UNDP for their swift support in helping the Authority to deploy the Game/Forest Guards across the country.
He also appealed to other environmental partners to follow the step of the UNDP in order to ensure that the NPAA achieve its objectives.
He admonished the Game/Forest Guards to take their work seriously.
Comments, questions from the various community stakeholders form part of the engagement.