- Published on Monday, 30 December 2013 03:30
- Written by PIUS RUGONZIBWA
- Hits: 2322
SIXTY elephants have been killed in less than two months after the controversial ‘Operation Tokomeza’ was suspended last month and the government plans to seek international intervention to check poaching in the country.
Deputy Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Lazaro Nyalandu revealed to reporters in Dar es Salaam on Sunday that the massive and wanton killing of elephants are reported shortly after the Parliament reacted against the operation.
“We have come across new records where 60 elephants have been killed from November 1 to date, compared to the entire ‘Operation Tokomeza’ period in which only two elephants were killed,” he reported.
Following the resumption of killings and other acts of sabotage targeting the country’s natural resource wealth, Mr Nyalandu announced several measures, including seeking international interventions, which will involve organs such as the International Police, Interpol.
According to the deputy minister, other international partners to be approached include the European Union (EU) and some Asian countries where elephant tusks and other resources are suspected to be smuggled to.
He said the government was also in the final stages of seeking expertise of some international systems that are recognised countrywide in combating international crimes like drug smuggling.
Announcing local strategies in the absence of ‘Operation Tokomeza,’ which has been temporally halted, Mr Nyalandu said a facebook page has been designed for regular and timely dissemination of information and tip-offs on poaching acted.
This will be followed by the establishment of a twitter account for the same purpose in the near future. “We are also dispatching more officers from the headquarters to the game reserves as well as seeking more funds so that more forest rangers and game rangers are employed to reinforce operations,” he pointed out.
Apart from reinforcing the available workforce, the deputy minister cautioned the staff to abide by regulations and code of conduct governing their operations, including observing human rights to the maximum when dealing with offenders.
He mentioned areas recently reported to have been invaded with poachers as the reserve forests of Selous, Rungwa, Burigi, Katavi and Ngorongoro.
There was also an incident in which a group of 80 poachers ambushed staff at the Mkungunero forest reserve in Kondoa District. Other criminal incidents during the period also cost the life of one game ranger, Ramadhani Magengere, leaving his colleague Yahya Ramadhani badly injured, said the deputy minister.
He noted that the recent incidents in Dodoma, which forced Amb. Khamis Kagasheki to resign from his post as Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, have not subsided, with poachers still wreaking havoc to natural resources in the country.