Ghana — A group of juveniles, said to be on a rat-hunting expedition, has been arrested in Ho, for allegedly causing a raging bush fire on the Kabakaba Hills.
Officials of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) said the children (names withheld) were all primary school pupils, with the exception of one, who is in the Junior High School. They are between 11 and 15 years.
They were said to be using their time during the Christmas holidays for hunting when one of them, after chasing a rat which ran into a hole, set fire to the bush after a futile attempt to smoke out the rat from its hideout.
The acting Fire Officer for Ho, Mr Sakutey Addo, told newsmen that a congregation of the Global Evangelical Church on the Kabakaba Hill felt threatened by the fire and telephoned the service for an intervention.
He said on their way to the spot, the firemen discovered that one of the boys had been arrested by some concerned citizens of the town who handed him over to the officials. The boy later helped to trace the other accomplices who were also arrested.
One of the boys disclosed that they went for a hoe at the residence of the grandmother of a peer and when they were returning, they saw a hole suspected to be the burrow of a rat.
He said they dug it aggressively to no avail, adding that in the process one of them, now on the run, set fire and fanned it to force out the rat but the fire engulfed a wider area in the bush and spread into the village.
The Volta Regional Pubic Relations Officer of the GNFS, Mr Joy Agbleze, said the children would be handed over to the police for the necessary action.
He expressed regret that the children had set a precedent for fire outbreaks in the Ho Municipality and other parts of the region in the ensuing harmattan season and warned communities to step up vigilance to curb the annual menace of bush fires to the environment.
Mr Agbleze urged parents to exercise greater control over their children during the holidays in order to enable them to spend more time on their studies than undertaking such painful expeditions.