By Orton Kiishweko
Some 952 suspects have so far been arrested in connection with poaching and illegal ivory trade in the ongoing Tokomeza operation in various parts of the country, Minister for Defence and National Service, Mr Shamsi Vuai Nahodha, said.
He would not be dragged into naming some of the suspects, even as there is a highly held public view that some 'big shots' could be involved in the illicit trade.
However, the minister called on all those directly involved in the operation to strictly adhere to the code of conduct guiding their work, including respect for human rights and according the suspects some respect as only courts of law would determine their fate.
He ordered leaders of the exercise to book anyone who contravened the code of conduct. "Each suspect should be respected because, as a country, we can not go contrary to our principles for human rights and rule of law," he said.
Mr Nahodha made the remarks during a media briefing on the ongoing 'Tokomeza' and 'Kimbunga' operations. In some cases, he said, Tokomeza also targeted those who unlawfully grazed livestock in game reserves and national parks, contrary to section 18(2) and (4) of the Wildlife Conservation Act.
The operation has also saved 104 elephant tusks, 13 military fire arms, 18 ordinary guns and 1,458 rounds of ammunition, according to the minister. He also said Home Affairs minister had been advised to follow up closely on allegations that some suspects had lost their property.
He said the Kimbunga operation targeted robbers, illegal immigrants and pastoralists who were grazing their herds of cattle in the country illegally. More....