Militants burn pastures, timber

HARARE - Militants occupying white-owned farms in support of President Robert Mugabe's land seizure program have burned thousands of acres of pastures and timber plantations in Zimbabwe in the last weeks, the farmers' union and timber producer federations said this week.
The Timber Producer

s Federation (TPF) said about 12 fires have razed down timber worth more than $1,2 billion since August and, another two fires last week destroyed 20 hectares of forests at Tarka and another 20 hectares at Cashel Valley in Chimanimani. “The presence of these unauthorized settlers are of great concern, as the majority of fires we have noted are linked to authorized settlement of forest land,” TPF chairman Joseph Kanyekanye told The Zimbabwean. “Twelve fires have been linked to the presence of the illegal settlers and they are allegedly felling timber at Charter, Martin and Skyline.”
A Commercial Farmers’ Union official told The Zimbabwean that the government had been informed, but the burnings were continuing.
“This is a very distressing development because not only are farmers losing their valuable timber, but this is also endangering farm and wild animals,”‘ said the official who refused to be identified. – Own correspondent

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