- Lusa has reported that Mozambican authorities have seized a total of 13 trucks transporting timber in Dondo, Sofala province, over the last three days, an official source said Wednesday.
“The amount of wood stated on the documents is not the same as the amount they were actually transporting,” José Ncuinda, head of inspection for the Forest and Wildlife sector in Sofala province, explained.
The wood was seized in the course of inspections carried out by the Ministry of Land and Environment aimed at preventing wood smuggling and illegal logging in the country.
The wood, Ncuinda elaborated, was black chacate, sandalwood and monzo from forests in Sofala, Zambézia and Manica provinces.
“Fines of more than 900,000 thousand meticais (€11,000) were imposed for the transgressions,” Ncuinda advanced. “We will continue to follow up on tip-offs about theft and monitor wood smuggling routes so as to enforce the law,” he concluded.
At the end of last month, Mozambican authorities seized 50 containers of wood at a Chinese company suspected of illegal exporting, also in Dondo.
Several national and international reports have highlighted Mozambique as the scene of environmental crimes, mainly illegal logging, warning of the consequences of high levels of deforestation.
Restrictive measures have been applied in the last five years as a way of reducing pressure on forestry resources. In 2018, the Mozambican government issued new rules aimed at halting the unrestrained felling of native species.
In April of this year, the Mozambican government further announced a two-year suspension of logging license issuing.
Official figures suggest that Mozambique loses at least €140 million annually to wood smuggling.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal