Forest patrol team exchanges gunfire with smugglers in Bara; one nabbed with logs

BARA: Forest patrol team exchanged gunfire with wood smugglers in Kalaiya Sub-metropolitan City-22 of Bara district past the midnight of Wednesday.

The smugglers allegedly transporting logs of sal (Shorea robusta) from the National Forest area surrounding the under-construction Nijgadh International Airport exchanged gunfire with forest guards whom they encountered at Bhedaha, at around 1:30 am yesterday.

One of the smugglers who was transporting 10 of the logs on a bicycle has also been nabbed by the forest patrol team.

Chief of Division Forest Office, Bara, Manjur Ahamad identified the detainee as Ismail Miyan (48) of Karaiyamai Rural Municipality-4 in the district.

Acting on the tip-off that sal trees were being felled and smuggled from the national forest through Pasahakhola in Jitpursimara Sub-metropolis-17, usually on midnights, a forest patrol team mobilised by the forest office encountered smugglers who fired two shots for which the patrol team fired one round bullet in return, according to the DFO chief Ahamad.

A joint team of security personnel deployed from posts of Madhuban Sub-division Forest Office at Jaitapur and Halkhoriya Partnership Forest, all under DFO, Bara seized 10 of the logs and 10 bicycles along with the detained smuggler after exchanging gunfires. Miyan was nabbed while the group of smugglers were about to run away.

It has been reported that the DFO, Bara has detained and prosecuted 40 persons for their involvement in the smuggling of woods and poaching wildlife since mid-March during the nation-wide lockdown imposed by the government to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. Twenty-two cases of timber smuggling and a case of poaching have been filed according to Ahamad. Meanwhile, four persons suspected to be involved in the smuggling are under investigation, he said.

The DFO has seized 1059 cubic feet of logs worth Rs 3 million from various places including Nijgadh, Kolhavi, Kakadi, Madhuban and Tangiyabasti since March 24.

The forest area encompasses 41 community forests, four partnership forests, Parsa National Park and private property that cover 47,182 hectares of land in Bara district.