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MDF to patrol Mulanje Mountain

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Government continues to engage the services of Malawi Defence Forces (MDF) to protect forests from extinction with the latest being Mulanje Mountain.

Stakeholders that included chiefs, councillors and Members of Parliament from both Phalombe and Mulanje districts endorsed the idea on Friday.

According to the director of forestry, Clement Chilima, the move to engage the military is a last effort to save the natural resources in Mulanje Mountain.

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“As it is in many parts of the country, Mulanje Mountain is under pressure; there is a lot of illegal harvesting of timber, charcoal making and encroachment which is against the law. So what the department [of forestry] has planned to do is to engage the MDF to come and bring some order in the forest,” said Chilima.

The forestry director claimed that where the army has operated they have done it in an orderly manner by working with the community and relevant stakeholders.

Chief of military operations at MDF, Paul Phiri assured communities in Mulanje and Phalombe that the soldiers will execute their services professionally.

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“I know the expectation is that soldiers will come with weapons. Weapons yes, but we have rules of engagements; we don’t just engage them[ encroachers]. We are coming here as citizens first and soldiers second, and the people of Mulanje and Phalombe should not view us as enemies but friends,” said Phiri.

Speaking on behalf of Phalombe and Mulanje communities, Member of Parliament for Phalombe East, Amos Mailosi said they welcome the move to engage the soldiers and urged people to view them as partners in conserving natural resources.

The MDF soldiers are also protecting forest reserves at Dzalanyama, Chikangawa and Kaning’ina.

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