Court sentences forest invaders to 30 years

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THIRTHY people have been sentenced to a total of 30 years in jail by Mlele District Court in Katavi region after pleading guilty on charges of encroaching into Luangwa River Forest and establishing permanent settlements All of them were charged with five counts of invading, establish- ing settlements, felling down trees and farming inside the forest reserve illegally.

The trial magistrate, Mr Teotimus Swai sentenced each of them to serve one year in jail after they pleaded guilty to the crimes.

Passing the judgment, Mr Swai said despite all accused persons plead- ing guilty, he passed a severe sen- tence to them to act as a lesson to others who are itching to commit similar crime, saying that encroach- ing into forest and game reserves has become worse in the area.

Earlier while prosecuting, Inspector of Police, Mr Bakari Hongoli charged before the court that the accused persons in different occa- sions were forcibly kicked out of the forest reserve and ordered not to return but they defied the directives three times.

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