Bhenumusa Mawillis Shiba, who is accused of poaching a rhino in the country, has been listed as one of the most wanted environmental fugitives.
He appeared in a report that was featured by National Geographic on the wanted list, along with nine other fugitives from different countries.
For the first time in history, Interpol has asked for the public’s assistance in capturing the environmental crime fugitives. The landmark public appeal falls under Interpol’s Operation Infra Terra, launched in October and targeting 139 criminals from 36 nations.
Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organisation) is the world’s largest international police organisation, with 190 member countries.
“Interpol is seeking the public’s assistance in locating nine international fugitives for committing crimes against the environment. If you have any information about any of these people, please send an email to our Fugitives Unit,” it read. Interpol officials say information submitted to this site will remain confidential.
According to the report, National Geographic spoke with two Interpol officials about the public appeal and environmental crimes; Davyth Stewart, a criminal intelligence officer with the Environmental Security Unit and Stefano Carvelli, who heads the Fugitive Investigative Support Unit and is supervising the search for the criminals.
Asked why Interpol had asked for the public’s help in capturing the fugitives, the latter said that one of Interpol’s first objectives was to track down international fugitives. He said they had decided to target environmental criminals on the run, which meant that they had 139 fugitives wanted for different crimes against the environment wildlife trafficking, poaching, ivory trafficking, illegal fishing or others.
Stewart, on the other hand, said the reason they decided to highlight these nine fugitives was because they had reviewed all the cases they had and realised that they had the most to gain by pulling them out.
“These are internationally wanted fugitives who skipped bail or went on the run. We need the public to understand that environmental criminals are just as bad, evil and dangerous as other criminals.”
The nine fugitives are accused of a range of crimes:
n Italian Adriano Giacobone is wanted for the discharge of toxic waste.
n Ariel Bustamante Sanchez, from Mexico, is suspected of organising illegal fishing in the waters of a national park in Costa Rica.
n Zambian Ben Simasiku was arrested for possessing ivory and reportedly then disappeared after being found with elephant tusks.
n Bhekumusa Mawillis Shiba (Interpol notes he “may be armed”) is accused of poaching a rhino in Swaziland.
n Kenyan Feisal Mohamed Ali is believed to be the leader of an ivory trafficking ring.
n Nicolaas Duindam, from the Netherlands, is charged with trafficking wildlife in Brazil.
n Sergey Darminov organised illegal crab fishing in Russia.
n Sudiman Sunoto from Indonesia is blamed for illegal logging.