Tanzania try nine poachers on charge of killing eight six elephants



Date Published
(Dar es Salaam) Nine poachers on Friday appeared before a Tanzanian court charged with killing 86 elephants and five buffaloes.

State attorneys told the Mbeya regional court that the suspects killed the animals between August 2006 and September 2014 in Mbeya, Iringa, Tanga and Morogoro regions.

The attorneys told the packed court that most of the suspects were related to a heavyweight politician from the country’s ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

They said the killed elephants and buffaloes were valued at 1 million U.S. dollars.

The state attorneys said one of the suspects, identified as the son of a Member of Parliament on the ticket of the ruling party, was two weeks ago found guilty of illegal possession of government trophies.

On October 29, President John Magufuli directed Tanzanian security forces to hunt down poachers and all criminals financing the poaching of elephants.

The order was made following the President’s visit to the Natural Resources and Tourism Ministry where he saw 50 elephant tusks that were seized from poachers.

He said the Tanzania’s National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) have his full support in their fight against elephant poaching.

According to a 2015 census, the elephant population in Tanzania shrank from 110,000 in 2009 to around 43,000 in 2014, while rhinos are said to be on the verge of extinction.