By Aggrey Mutambo
The US government has linked increased terrorist activities with rise in poaching and urged for joint efforts to combat these global crimes.
In a teleconference with reporters on Thursday, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in charge of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Brooke Darby, told reporters there is an increasing association between falling numbers of wildlife and rising cases militant attacks. (READ: Wildlife group says poaching funds Somalia's Al-shabaab)
“We have some links between militant organisations and poaching. And one of the reasons for that is that the value of wildlife products right now is so high that it can be used to generate money that can be used to finance all kinds of activities,” she said from Washington.
“The money can be used to purchase arms; it can be used to do all manner of criminal activities and that is why it is an ongoing concern of us to stem this problem and understanding that it can feed militant groups, terrorist groups and other criminal activity.”
Ms Darby who was announcing a new reward scheme, the Transnational Organised Crime Rewards Program, for combating poaching told journalists that the two vices are also aided by corrupt officials who allow poachers to smuggle out illegal wildlife items and sneak in arms and terrorists. (READ: It will take ‘an Elephant’ to stop poaching and illegal ivory trade)
“All those people who make this illicit trade possible are also likely to engage in facilitating other forms of illicit trade such as trafficking arms, people and drugs. Going after elements that facilitate these crimes is also important,” she said.
Kenya has been on the receiving end of terror attacks linked to Somali militant group al-Shabaab, and following the September 21 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, the Kenyan government sacked 14 immigration officials for it charged had been involved in sneaking in terrorists. (READ: Immigration officers sacked in purge) More....