The call follows the arrest of some individuals, who from time to time, cut trees in protected forests, an act of environmental degradation punishable by law.
Two of the people that cut trees in protected forests were arrested on Thursday December 14, in Nyamagabe District, Kibumbwe Sector, Gakanka Cell, Gikomera Village.
They were felling trees in the gazetted forest for fire wood and to burn charcoal.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Emmanuel Habiyaremye, the Southern region Police spokesperson, said that the suspects were apprehended red handed in the forest, where they were found cutting trees.
"Communities neighboring the forest are the first line of defense against people, who attempt to destroy forests, and the two men were also reported by the residents," SP Habiyaremye said.
He added: "When residents notice unusual movements in the forests or carrying trees from the forest, they call the police and local leaders."
Article 44 of Law No 48/2018 of 13/08/2018 on environment prohibits the following acts in order to protect biodiversity: burning forests, national parks and reserved areas, burning swamps, grazing land, bushes, grass with the aim of agriculture or organizing grazing land, killing, injuring and capturing animals of endangered species, destroying or damaging habitats, larvae, pupae or the young animals of the endangered species, causing death or burning protected plants, harvesting or destroying them, transporting or selling the remains of a whole or part of an animal and plants of endangered species, and cutting trees in forests or protected areas or in national parks.
In article 59; any person who causes death, destroys protected plants, harvests or damages them, commits an offence. Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than three years and not more than five years and a fine of not less than Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf3 million.