Drug Dealers, Ivory Smugglers Think Twice! (Tanzania)


Tanzania Daily News

Date Published

The government and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the United States of America have launched a ‘Canine Detection Programme.’ Through this programme, Tanzanian police officers with specially-trained dogs will be posted at the Dar es Salaam Port and the country’s airport to help detect illicit drugs and ivory smuggling, come this September. Our Correspondent reports…

The development in science and technology, increase in human activities, terrorism and piracy have all led to increase of insecurity in different places especially in vital installations such as ports.

Ports being one of the major gateways for people and goods from various angles of the world demand high level of security to ensure that people, goods and vessels entering and leaving port facilities are safe and secure all the time.

It is therefore important to ensure that proper measures and mechanisms are devised to accommodate the level of safety and security required. We witnessed one of such measures recently when the governments of Tanzania and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the United States of America launched a ‘Canine Detection Programme.’

The arrangement will see Tanzanian police officers with specially-trained dogs posted at the Dar es Salaam Port and the airport to help detect heroin and ivory smuggling. The programme involves the ministries of Natural Resources and Tourism, Home Affairs and Transport.

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu said the programme will greatly help in the war against people who are determined to destroy Tanzania through drug trafficking and destruction of natural habitats. “We are determined to defeat these people ,” he said at the launch of the programme at the Dar es Salaam port.

“We thank the US government for this assistance and other efforts that seek to sustain Tanzania’s natural resources,” the minister noted, adding that it was in the interest of the government of Tanzania to expand the programme to other installations such as ports and airports throughout the country.

The CBP Commissioner, Mr. Gil Kerlikowske said the canine programme has assisted numerous international partners in developing and enhancing their canine programmes through sharing of best practices, expertise and resources.

According to the Commissioner, CBP plans to develop a narcotic and ivory canine detection training programme designed to train a delegation from the office of Inspector General canine unit.

“The goal is to have the dogs trained and on the ground in Tanzania by the end of September,” Mr. Kerlikowske who runs the largest federal law enforcement agency and second largest revenue collecting source in the federal government said. By this September, Dar port and airport will have two highly trained dogs each ready for work.

This is the first time in CBP history to extend the canine detection capability to ivory. Through the Regional Rural Border Patrol Unit training, CBP has trained more than 200 Tanzanian police and wildlife personnel to combat narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, and wildlife poaching and trafficking.

“Our joint effort to combat illicit trafficking will help to enhance security and economic prosperity around the world,” he said. The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) Deputy Director General, Eng. Alois Matei said safety and security of port facilities has remained the authority’s main priority.

Eng. Matei who represented the TPA Acting Director General, Mr. Awadh Massawe said the authority welcomes the use of sniffer dogs at the authority’s port facilities.

This is not the first time TPA is working with the US government on matters pertaining to security. After every two years, experts from US Coast Guard visit Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara ports to inspect them on the progress and implementation of ISPS Code as recommended by IMO.

The three ports are ISPS Code Compliant as required by law. Also, TPA has been a beneficiary of security training from the US Coast Guard every year in different areas of specialization to the security personnel in charge of safety and security of vessels, ports and sea.

On several occasions, TPA’s security personnel and experts have been accorded training and learning visits to the ports in the US. “This has credited our security officers with international experience and training on combating major security threats at our port facilities,” Mr. Matei said.

Mr. Matei notes that the authority is currently under construction and installation of Integrated Security System (ISS) Phase One at Dar es Salaam port which is expected to be commissioned in September, 2015. Phase two of the project will be for the ports of Tanga and Mtwara.

It is expected that the ISS shall increase the ability and capacity of the authority’s facilities security systems. The US Embassy Charge d’ Affaires, Virginia Blaser said her government has supported and will continue to support the ongoing training of Tanzanian civilian and military personnel on a wide variety of topics.

She said the canine detection programme was a great example of what can be achieved through a holistic approach when tackling challenges facing humanity. “One organization, one agency, one ministry, one country, can’t do it alone… we must all work together,” she noted.

We hope that the use of sniffer dogs popularly known as K-9 will be extended to other vital installations so as to strengthen the ability of the country’s personnel in port facilities to inspect, search and check the incoming and outgoing consignments, vessels and people. The launch of sniffer dogs at these vital installations should worry would be drug dealers and ivory smugglers.