By Nelson Kessy
Police officers Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has detained Juma Ally known as ‘Ngangari’ with 14 elephant tasks and one hippo tooth at Kisaki station in Morogoro district all worth Sh. 27.5 million.
Speaking to journalists yesterday in Dar es Salaam, TAZARA police division commander, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Innocent Mugaya said that the suspect is aged 26 and was arrested on Thursday December 26 within TAZARA passenger train bound for Dar es Salaam from Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia.
Police officers inside the train moved to arrest ‘Ngangari,’ after being given information that he was carrying trophies. Police caught the tusks weighing 29 kg and one hippo tooth of 900 grams.
“It should be remembered that inspite of police officers escorting the train they are also engaged in the fight against poachers who use passenger or cargo trains for transporting government trophies.
Poachers kill animals in national parks, ruining tourism and disrupting government revenues,” he pointed out.
He praised the civic spirit of passengers using the train, urging others to maintain vigilance and reveal any apparent suspects so as to stamp out poaching, as it has reached grotesque proportions.
TAZARA police also intercepted a bag with 19 kg of marijuana, the property of the suspect.
“People are expected to use the train for travelling and not to transport illegal merchandise,” he said, noting that vigilance is being heightened among TAZARA police officers.
Poaching and intensified government efforts against it led to the sacking of four cabinet ministers last week, on account of systematic human rights violations tied with Operation Tokomeza, but poaching has not ended.
The government has also been at pains to liaise with world agencies on how the global ivory market, especially in the Far East can be discouraged, as enhanced communications and mobility spurred the massive slaughter of elephants over the past two years.
WWF Director Bell’Aube Houinato said Tanzania and other African countries face steep challenges in curbing illegal wildlife trade, urging the various stakeholders globally to fashion a method to address the problem.