Councilor admits Illegal Mining and logging on Protected Areas

By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya

In a brazen display of arrogance coupled with unrepentant disregard for the rule of law, Councilor N’Sirah S. Kamara of Ward 113, Constituency 36 in the Tambaka Chiefdom, Bombali District has over the weekend told a group of Sierra Leoneans, comprising Senior Police Personnel from the Northern Region Police Division, the Deputy Chairman of the Bombali District Council, John .B. Kamara, Senior District Officer, Abubakarr Carew, Agriculture Ministry Staff and staff of the Sierra Leone Biodiversity Conservation Project that she would rather go to jail than stop her illegal mining and timber logging activities in and around the Outamba Kilimi National Park. The Outamba Kilimi National Park is owned by the Government of Sierra Leone, a protected area, gazette in the laws of Sierra Leone as a National Park.


Rampant illicit Mining at OKNP is endangering the Pigmy Hippos found downstream of the Kabba River

Rampant illicit Mining at OKNP is endangering the Pigmy Hippos found downstream of the Kabba River

At a Community Meeting organized by the Sierra Leone Biodiversity Conservation Project (operating under the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture) at the Fintonia (the Chiefdom Headquarter) the female Councilor who also stands accused of dishing out fake mining and logging permits to mostly Guinean businessmen crossing the border via Tambaka stoutly rejected the idea of abandoning her illegal activities for preserving the protected area. She spoke with a marked display of pomposity and defiance, realizing very little that her actions could see her indicted for serious environmental crimes and crimes against the State.

Apparently, bereft by any logic, Councilor N’Sirah Kamara blamed Government for not providing some basic amenities for her people claiming that Tambaka Chiefdom still could not boast of a hospital and a Secondary School. The Councilor could not however admit that her illegal mining and logging activities on the National Park had caused the non establishment of any school or hospital for the deprived people of Tambaka. It thus, appears that the female Councilor was hell bent on fueling local resentment to promote her illegal activities on the National Park for her personal gains.

Addressing the Tambaka people at a crowded Chiefdom Court Barry few days back, the Bombali Senior District Officer, Abubakarr Carew explained that illegal mining and logging activities on the OKNP had prompted Government and bilateral partners to intervene in order to save one of the few remaining biodiversity hot spots in the country from degradation.

“Government is very keen to protect the park and we must now make resolutions on how we should ensure that the park is protected” he said.

Mr. Carew charged the Chiefs of the area to ensure that their subjects adhere to stipulated laws on mining and timber logging, adding that illegal mining whether inside or outside the park constitutes a serious offence and whosoever is found wanting will face the wrath of the law.

The Deputy Bombali District Chairman, John B. Kamara dismissed Councilor N’Sirah’s claims when he informed the gathering that Government has indeed provided medical facilities to the Chiefdom and documents had already been signed for the construction of a school and hospital in the Tambaka Chiefdom. John B. Kamara said “…no Councilor is above the law, the park must be protected and the law can take its course if the need arises”

Outamba-Kilimi is the only extensive area of Savanna Woodland and Grass, in Sierra Leone. Its primate population, especially the chimpanzee population, is exceptional, and it has considerable potential for education and eco-tourism developments. The National Park (OKNP) is found on the extreme north, about 296 km north of Freetown and lies adjacent to the border with the Republic of Guinea, in the Tambakha Chiefdom, Bombali District, Northern Province. The two areas, Outamba (74,100 ha) and Kilimi (36,800 ha), that constitute the park are separated by a stretch of land 1000km2 in size.

The vegetation is characterized by a mosaic of grassland, closed woodland and gallery forest. Whereas, Outamba has a predominance of tall grasses and woodland and patches of closed canopy forest. Kilimi has more grassland and more open woodland. There are traces of Raffia swamp vegetation and riverside grassland in both areas. Outamba has a perennial lake, Lake Idrissa and the region is drained by several streams, which flow into large rivers of national importance such as the Mongo and Little Scarcies at Outamba and the Great Scarcies at Kilimi.














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