Mr. John Allotey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission (FC), remains hopeful of finding Mr. Vitus Yuordong, a missing staff member of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) of the Sunyani Forest District Office, alive.
The search team has been strengthened with additional personnel from Dormaa, Sunyani, and Digya RRT, along with assistance from the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI).
The Commission has also incorporated technology, including Global Positioning System (GPS) and drones, to enhance search efforts.
Mr. Allotey's visit to the region involved meeting with regional management and the search teams of the FC/Forestry Services Division to assess the progress in locating the missing staff and explore avenues to find him alive.
The CEO stated that it is unusual for a staff member to be missing, as there have been no previous reports of such incidents since he assumed office in 2017.
He emphasized that the Commission's primary focus is on finding the missing staff, and the information gathered during the search and investigation will aid in reviewing and improving their operations.
Mr. Allotey made a heartfelt appeal to residents living around the forest reserves, including Daadom, Yawsae, Antwikrom, Atronie, Kuffour Camp, Asaaman, Nsuta, and Pobe in the Sunyani Municipality, and all Ghanaians to assist in the search efforts by reporting any information to the nearest Police Station and the Forestry Office.
In a related interview, Mr. Augustine Ire, a senior brother of Mr. Yuordong, expressed the family's deep concern and worry over the current situation. He emphasized the family's distress, stating that they are having sleepless nights and cannot eat due to the circumstances.
Mr. Yuordong, aged 33, was part of a team dispatched on an operation at the Daadom portion of the Asukese Forest reserve within the Sunyani Municipality to apprehend illegal chainsaw operators on Sunday, July 2, 2023.
After a successful exercise, while the team was preparing to return to Sunyani with three seized chainsaw machines, Mr. Yuordong and another staff member went to attend nature's call somewhere in the forest.
However, Mr. Yuordong did not return, and despite the team's thorough search, he could not be found. The search for him continues with the hope of finding him alive.