By Kevin Heath
A conservation specialist helping to train anti-poaching staff in Zimbabwe has left the country after being threatened by the country’s secret police and services. Despite having government approval for a 2 year programme local officials threatened him and forced him out the country.
Rory Young also claimed to a Zimbabwean newspaper that there are moles operating inside European based NGOs in the country that keep the secret police informed of all activities. Local secret police are thought to be behind much of the poaching that is undertaken in Zimbabwe.
Speaking to News Dze Zimbabwe Young said that he was given permission by the Zimbabwe Republic Police General Headquarters to undertake anti-poaching training of police in Nyaminyami region. On his way there he was ‘requested’ to attend a meeting at the Office of the President in Kariba. There he was interrogated and told if he attempted to provide training to any police officers he would immediately be arrested.
They told him that they would know everything that he did in the region because they had European informants employed by wildlife NGO’s working in the area that passed on all anti-poaching activity information to them.
When Young said he had permission from the police to train officers they told him to shut up and that they were above the police.
While Young stopped training police in Zimbabwe he continued his training of officials on other African countries and further threats were made against him including threats to his life if he continued with his activities. young has now left Zimbabwe with his family for their safety.
Young claims that his was not the only anti-poaching operation shut down in Zimbabwe with another major operation also being told to keep out of the Nyaminyami region.
Zimbabwe’s secret police (CIO) don’t just control the elephant poaching operations in Zimbabwe but also operate outside the country. One prominent Zimbabwe politician is an ex CIO officals who made his money from operating elephant poaching activities in Mozambique.