(Photo: Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services)

Nyan Hein | DMG
19 January 2021, Sittwe 

More than 5,000 tonnes of illegal timber worth over K400 million ($300,000) was confiscated in Arakan State from January to December last year, according to the Arakan State Forest Department.  

The illegal lumber was seized from Maungdaw, Taungup, Ann and Sittwe townships, said Daw Soe Soe, a senior clerk at the director’s office of the Arakan State Forest Department. 

“More than 5,000 tonnes of timber were seized in some townships in Arakan State last year. According to the current market price, the seized timber will be valued at over K400 million,” she told DMG. 

Taungup Township has the highest number of illegal logging arrests, followed by Gwa Township, according to the Arakan State Forest Department. 

She added that illegal timber producers face legal action under Sections 41(a) and 42(a) of the Forest Law. 

“The timber seized in Taungup Township was temporarily transferred to Myanmar Timber Enterprise,” she explained. 

The Tatmadaw said in a statement that large quantities of illegal timber and timber smuggling boats were confiscated in Taungup Township between October and November 2020. 

“If we want to preserve forests, we have to get the cooperation of the local people. Conserving forests is not something that can be done by the government alone; it requires the cooperation of the people. Due to the severe deforestation in Arakan State, mangrove forests should be established in each township and be effectively conserved,” said Dr. Maung Maung Kyi, chairman of the Rakhine Coastal Region Conservation Association (RCA). 

About 1,900 tonnes of illegal timber were confiscated in Arakan State in the fiscal year 2018-19, according to the Arakan State Forest Department.

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