Maputo, 01 Dec (AIM) – Mozambique’s National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) in the northern province of Cabo Delgado arrested on Wednesday three individuals in possession of 84 pieces of ironwood, one of the country’s species of precious hardwoods,
According to SERNIC spokesperson, Noémia João, the individuals are part of a group that illegally exploits timber in the Quirimbas National Park, including ironwood, a species protected by law.
The wood in question, she said, was destined for a timber yard in the city of Montepuez, belonging to Chinese citizens.
“The goods and the truck itself belong to a Chinese citizen who lives in Montepuez, and the three individuals now in custody had a logging license for the district of Meluco, but were found in Quissanga”, Joao said.
The detainees, for their part, confessed they had committed the crime when they were caught loading wood in a conservation area.
According to Friday’s edition of the independent newsheet “Carta de Moçambique”, the loggers operate in the Quirimbas National Park in collusion with some corrupt inspectors, exploiting large quantities of wood destined for their yards located in the cities of Pemba and Montepuez.
“The timber exploited in the conservation area is then transported in trucks that pass through the police and inspection posts under the complicit eyes of the authorities, in a corruption scheme”, writes the paper.