MP accuses parks’ intelligence unit of colluding with poachers (Tanzania)


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Mwibara MP, Kangi Lugola (CCM) yesterday launched scathing attack on the Tanzania National Parks Intelligence Unit, alleging its officials collude with poachers undermining the country’s anti-poaching efforts.

Contributing to the 2016/17 development plan debate yesterday in parliament, the outspoken lawmaker called on the government to take stern measures against members of the unit. He charged that a serious investigation on the unit is long overdue, lest poaching continues with other atrocities like the recent killing of a British pilot.
“It is shameful and irresponsible that an aircraft employed by the government can be gunned down by poachers. What is the work of the unit?” he queried.
Last week, the British pilot Roger Gower was fatally shot by elephant poachers while piloting a helicopter in a coordinated effort with the country’s wildlife authorities to track down and arrest elephant killers at the Maswa Game Reserve in Simiyu Region.
Following this disgraceful incident, President John Magufuli directed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to ensure the involved culprits are caught and brought to justice. The President moreover promised that his government will continue with efforts against anti-poaching to reserve the wildlife.
Lugola noted with concern that there is high possibility that the attack was made possible through a collaborative work between those tasked with protecting the country’s wildlife and poachers.
It is his opinion that even with said measures by the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources to fight poachers, without overhauling the parks’ intelligence unit, all efforts would be fruitless.
The MP called on relevant authorities to ensure all those hired to serve in such posts are subjected to very intensive vetting to ensure they are loyal and devoted to their work.
“If we do not make changes in the unit, the country shall continue facing more killings of elephants and more problems in the game reserves,” he warned.
MP Lugola also noted that the current system where even sacked police officers are hired and assigned to protect our wildlife will not help reverse the trend. The Lawmaker pushed for instant and hard-hitting measures to control illegal wildlife killings which he said are now scaring tourists away.