GICUMBI - Gicumbi District officials have expressed concern over environment degradation after reports exposed increasing deforestation and illegal mining activities in the district.
During a meeting called by the district Mayor, Bonane Nyangenzi, several forests and terrains were reported to have been destroyed through human activities.
The meeting drew all district local leaders, including officials in charge of forestry and agriculture.
Nyangenzi blamed environment degradation on reluctance on grassroots leaders fail to enforce environment protection measures after being bribed.
Among the activities practiced illegally include mining of gold and wolfram and cutting of trees for charcoal.
The district’s National Forestry Authority official, Boniface Sayinzoga, said some residents had been breached the ministerial order banning felling of trees.
Joseph Rusizana, the Executive Secretary of Bwesige Sector, where illegal mining activities are common, said several illegal miners were detained.
“We have tried to apprehend some culprits but others keep hiding whenever they sense us coming,” he said.
Nyagenzi said investigations would go on to establish leaders linked to corruption and illegal activities.
“We know some local leaders are implicated in this matter, but once we apprehend them, the law will take its course,” said Nyangezi.
He urged local leaders to sensitise their respective residents to form cooperatives and respect mining protocol in line with the district’s environment conservation guidelines.