The Nkawie District Forest office and the police have arrested five young men, who are suspected to be terrorising forest guards and preventing them from doing their work.
The suspects are believed to be terrorising the guards of the Tano-Offin Forest Reserve within the Atwima Nwabiagya and Atwima Mponua districts in the Ashanti Region.
The forest reserve has suffered many setbacks for some time now because the suspects and other armed gangs will not allow forest guards to discharge their duties by protecting the forest from activities of illegal miners and illegal loggers.
Figures at the office of the Forestry Commission of Ghana indicate that 60 per cent of the forest cover, left untouched with prized teak and other species, are being felled on daily basis by criminals.
The five were identified as Kofi Owusu alias ‘Juve’, Kwabena Obeng alias TT, Yaw Ofori, Kwadwo Yeboah alias Nyinahini Tiger and Yaw Boamah.
The Nkawie District Forest Manager, Nana Poku Bosompem, told the Daily Graphic that the suspects were arrested at Nyinahini upon a tip-off.
He said the forest office and the police had been mounting a search for the five, especially the gang leader Juve for the past five months.
He said after arresting them, it became necessary to officially hand them over to the police for the law to take its course.
The Deputy Ashanti Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mr Ampofo Duku, said the police retrieved from the suspects locally-made pistols, machetes, knives and other deadly weapons.
He said the five would be paraded for the public, who had been victims of their notorious criminal activities, to identify them.
Checks made by the Daily Graphic revealed that Juve during one Akwasidae festival,last year, at Nyinahini, led a group of young men, wielding machetes and locally manufactured pistols, to attack the Nyinahinihene, Nana Amampene Boateng Twum II, in what was known to be a protracted chieftaincy dispute.
More so, a few weeks after that incident, the same Juve and his gang were said to have attacked the Nyinahini District Magistrate Court with arms forcing the court to abruptly adjourn proceedings till further notice.
Juve had since been on police wanted list and he could not resist arrest last Friday at Nyinahini.