Dar es Salaam — The police have delayed sending to court what has been described by conservationists as the suspected most notorious elephant poacher, Boniface Matthew Mariango, because he faces many criminal offences that need enough time to investigate.
Mariango was arrested a fortnight ago by the National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit task-force on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, after a year of manhunt.
The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Mr Diwani Athumani, said on Thursday that the suspect, who is still in remand, was facing a number of criminal allegations he had committed in different regions.
“He has a big network of conducting poaching in different regions, unfortunately, I can’t go into details, but I assure that we will complete the investigation within a short period from now,” he told The Citizen over telephone. Mariango is Tanzania’s most wanted elephant poacher and ivory trafficker, one who is believed to be responsible for the killing of thousands of elephants over the past years, according to Mr Andrea Crosta, co-founder of the Elephant Action League and the WildLeaks initiative, a US-based organisation that conducts intelligence and investigative activities on wildlife crime in various countries around the world.
Following his arrest, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Adelhelm Meru, described the move as another milestone in the fight against poaching. Considered by NTSCIU to be the most prolific elephant poacher and ivory trafficker in East Africa, Mariango, 45, has managed over 15 poaching syndicates that have been operating throughout Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia, Mozambique and Kenya with impunity for years.
He is believed to be a major supplier of weapons, ammunition and cars to poaching syndicates operating across the country and beyond.
He is the ringleader of a poaching network directly supplying a Chinese woman Yang Feng Glan nicknamed the “Queen of Ivory” with elephant tusks from across the nation.