CANKUZO November 2nd (ABP) – The protected area of Bumba village in Gisagara commune, Cankuzo province (eastern Burundi) is disappearing. That is the constant of the Director General of the Burundian Office for the Protection of the Environment (OBPE), Mr. Berchmans Hatungimana in a visit he made Thursday October 28 to this area, a check on the site by ABP has revealed.
Mr. Hatungimana said protected areas play a crucial role in human life through the presence of the oxygen they breathe. Apart from that, added the general manager, the presence of animals like monkeys, elephants and others attract tourists who, therefore, bring foreign currency to the country.
Those protected areas remain places of research for students around the world, with most of them doing more research on fungi, the official continued. He said that studies made in 2016 showed that this area had many living species including trees called “ingongo” promoting the appearance of more than 60 types of fungi.
Mr. Hatungimana then pointed out that Law No. 100-116 of 12/3/2011 on the protection of landscapes in Burundi stipulates those animals and their shelters must be protected.
The surface area of that protected area of Bumba is 6,126 hectares. But, he regretted, the people seized nearly 3000 hectares of this space.
In favor of the protection of this space and its fauna and flora, the director general of the OBPE recommended that the occupants of this landscape must move to settle in other places, in compliance with the law.
According to Mr. Hatungimana, among the occupants of that perimeter, there are nationals of other provinces other than Cankuzo. That area is threatened by bushfires, residential houses, agricultural activities, and poaching which have caused the animals to leave for Tanzania, thus hampering the State’s objective, said Hatungimana.
Before making the final decision, it was recommended that only pre-2011 occupants be allowed to stay there provided they no longer use other new surfaces in this area before it is demarcated. For those who got there after the signing of this law have violated it and are ordered to return home.
When asked to know the real limits of that landscape, he replied that the work of its delimitation will follow in order to draw its map before transmission of the report to the ministry responsible for the Environment.
He called on the administration to ensure the implementation and respect of this law. He also advised the people not to disrupt the work of the staff of this office in the service of the nation.
As for those with land disputes there, Mr. Hatungimana and the public prosecutor in Cankuzo all advised those parties to lodge their complaints with the administrative court and not with the courts of residence, because, they explained, this land is the patrimony of the State.
Note that Presidential Decree nº1 / 07 of July 15, 2016 revising the 1985 Decree of the Forest Code specifies the methods of integrated management ensuring the conservation and use of forest resources and various ecosystems.