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Residents of Mwingi town yesterday barricaded the Mwingi-Garissa highway and offloaded all the charcoal from a lorry ferrying the commodity from Mwingi to Nairobi, in a bid to fight illegal charcoal business which is seen as a major threat to the ecosystem in the region. The other Lorries who escaped the wrath of the angry mob had to seek refuge at Mwingi police station. This has brought a new twist to charcoal and sand business in the region.

Yesterday’s incident follows a directive which was issued by the Governor of Kitui Charity Ngilu banning all charcoal and sand businesses within the county.

Governor Charity Ngilu had issued a statement last week banning all charcoal burning and sand harvesting in the County, to curb massive destruction of trees and rivers in Kitui which has resulted in to poor rains and perennial drought. 

“We cannot sit and watch while rogue people continue ruining our environment. We must put an end to illegal charcoal burning and sand harvesting in Kitui county from today,” Said Madam Ngilu.

There has been public outcry in Kitui County following rampant illegal charcoal business which has seen many trees go down as clueless residents continue burning charcoal without planting trees, hence ruining the environment.

Despite leaders coming out strongly to condemn the business, nothing much has been achieved as more and more Lorries continue traversing the county purchasing charcoal from the locals. This is what has forced Mwingi town residents to take drastic measures in ensuring the business doesn’t continue under their watch.

However, some actions like residents looting vehicles ferrying charcoal should not be tolerated and the police should take charge in the fight against illegal charcoal and sand businesses.

Just last week more than Ten lorries ferrying charcoal were arrested at Mwingi but after thorough inspection to the documents in their possession, only two were found operating illegally.

Addressing the issue, Mwingi Police OCPD John Nyamu said that police at Mwingi will remain vigilant to ensure that no one operates the charcoal business at Mwingi central without proper authorization and possessing the required documents.

“We won’t stop until we ensure that total sanity reigns in the charcoal and sand business in Mwingi central sub county, proper inspection will be done to lorries ferrying charcoal and sand through in order to ensure that they are doing so within the confines of the law,” Said Mr. Nyamu.

Speaking to the press at Mwingi town, the group of youths who led the protest vowed not to allow any lorry ferrying either charcoal or sand to pass through the town.

“We are tired of seeing rogue people continue ruining our environment under our watch, we will allow no more Lorries to pass through Mwingi with charcoal and sand from our land,” chanted the angry youths.

This has brought a new twist to the business as no one would risk their vehicles to ferry charcoal from Mwingi due to the threats posed by the group of the youths.

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