Interpol takes fight against poaching to East Africa



Date Published
When the coin finally dropped on the Western countries, that poaching had substituted ocean terrorism, aka piracy, as a main source for funding for extremist groups like Al Shabab, a scramble did begin to tackle this problem, just the same way as the global community eventually began to jointly deal with the attacks on ships off the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
Militias in Eastern Congo, the LRA in Central Africa and Eastern Congo and other militant and terror groups were said to be some of the main drivers of poaching in their areas of control, financing their supplies of weapons and ammunition by selling blood ivory to middlemen before it is shipped and smuggled to feed the ravenous appetite for ivory trinkets and carvings in China.
While China as a country is per se not outright complicit in this blood trail, the country’s failure to crack down on blood ivory imports, processing and possession, like they do on people who poach their prized Panda bears, leaves too many questions open.
Meanwhile, Interpol has sent a team to the regional office in Nairobi to assist, and according to one conservation source in Kenya, actually begin their own investigations into the network of poaching gangs, financiers, middlemen and shippers. This is perhaps an indication that the international community does not have a 100 percent confidence in the work of local law enforcement, which has more often than not been blamed for looking the other way in the past, with the most notable example being the failure to arrest one Feisal Mohammed, mastermind in a major blood ivory bust in Mombasa. The treatment Dr. Paula Kahumbu got from Kenya’s top cop, when attempting to hand in a petition to finally effect the arrest, speaks volumes of how Kenya’s top layer of law enforcement apparently looks at poaching, an attitude of course percolating down the ranks. Feisal is still at large and while some more busts have been made of late, mostly when small quantities of blood ivory are caught in road blocks, is the big underground pipeline apparently still up and running, all the more a reason for unbiased and incorruptible Interpol officers to be brought brought into the investigations.