Forest officers and residents of Lari district had a hard time rescuing a suspected logger who fell off a cliff on Wednesday night when he was escaping arrest in Kijabe forest. It took the rescuers about five hours to rescue 37-year-old Ndung'u Muigai. They had to comb thickets in the tick forest leading to the slopes where the Kijabe River cuts through the forest.
The operation was led by forests assistant director and Kiambu zonal forest manager George Njenga and Inspector Authur Akaya as well as senior forester J. Njoroge, area chief Joseph Waweru and administration police and forest officers. Njenga said that he received a phone call at around 2am from one of the officers who were on duty on Wednesday night telling him that they had arrested Peter Mwihia while his partner had fallen in a cliff in his bid to escape.
Njenga said the two were in a group of three who were stealing timber in the forest. One of them escaped. "We got a call from one of our officers that the three were stealing timber in the forest. One of them however managed to escape while the officers managed to arrest one of them. The other one, according to the officer, fell in the cliff and did not die but he could not come out because he broke his left leg," Njenga said.
Njenga urged Kenyans to desist from destroying forests. The officer at the same time urged the police and the forest officers to step up the fight against timber thieves. He asked the courts to give severe punishment to loggers. "I wish to call upon wananchi to stop destroying the forests in Kiambu county and because this is a rainy season, they should instead focus in planting more trees to salvage our forests," he said. "The police should be alert and forest officers should arrest anyone who is found felling trees illegally. The courts also should punish such criminals to act as a lesson to other people who have or intend to carry out such acts," Njenga said.
However, the officers had to make a makeshift stretcher using women kangas and tree backs in order to curry Ndung'u from the bottom of the cliff. The suspect who claimed that he was in deep pain is alleged to have sustained internal injuries while his chin was broken. He was rushed to the neighboring Kijabe Hospital while family and friends watched in dismay as he struggled to cling to himself sue to cold.