I was posted here in February 2013; I have spent 1.5years in Kyarusozi. Throughout this time, most of the cases reported here have been associated directly or indirectly to illegal activities in the forest. The common cases used to be gender based violence in homes and fighting. Investigations have shown that the violence in homes were associated to illegal timber cutters who after being paid by their bosses would embark on drinking in the various bars in Kyarusozi town, fall in love with peoples wives resulting into fighting and gender based violence.

Police records show that about 12 cases of people arrested cutting timbers illegally have been reported per week before March 2014. With the intensified community based monitoring, I have noted a big reduction in cases on illegal forest activities being reported. In July 2014, only one case SD Ref. 13/22/07/2014 was reported from Kibego CFR. I have also noted the gangs of people who used to be imported from other areas to cut timber illegally have now gone back to original homes for fear of being arrested. There is now relative peace in Kyarusozi town and surrounding villages.

In Itwara Central Forest Reserve however, the level of illegal activities is still high compared to Kibego. This is because NFA staff are conniving and benefitting from these illegal activities. I you can arrest an illegal timber cutter and he rings Amon for rescue, what does that mean? If an NFA staff can tell a police officer to live issues of the forest to NFA staff moreover after assisting them to arrest illegal timber cutters, what does that mean? How can Kasozi whom we know as a criminal and corrupt NFA official protect the forest? According to my observation, if the NFA staff can stop conniving with illegal timber cutters, the forests will be free of illegal activities.

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