Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

28 December 2012

Tanzania: Dar es Salaam for Probe of LRA Poaching Activities

Photo: New Vision
UN council calls for LRA ivory poaching investigation (file photo).

THE government supports calls by the Security Council of the United Nations and the Secretary- General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to investigate the alleged involvement of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in poaching African elephants and smuggling their ivory.

Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki said in a statement that the call by the UN underpins the links between illicit wildlife poaching and trafficking with regional insecurity in Africa.

In a statement issued last week, the Security Council called on the United Nations and African Union to jointly investigate LRA logistical networks and possible sources of illicit financing, including alleged involvement in elephant poaching and related illicit smuggling.

LRA has turned to ivory trafficking and also extended its area of operations, a UN Security Council meeting was told on Tuesday. Ambassador Kagasheki noted that African states are currently experiencing a serious increase in the illegal killing of African elephants and rhinos and the related illegal trade in ivory.

"As reiterated by CITES, the illegal killings of large number of elephants for their ivory are increasingly involving organised crime and in some cases wellarmed militias. The poached ivory in the Great Lakes Region and Central Africa is believed to be exchanged for money, weapons and ammunition to support conflicts in neighbouring countries, according to CITES," the statement read in part.

He said Tanzania is ready to work with the UN to support efforts to investigate the involvement of rebel militias in wildlife poaching. "Tanzania believes that the envisaged investigation will identify the barons of elephant tusks trade and their modus operandi. This will augur well with Tanzania's efforts in curbing poaching in our territory," the minister noted.

Meanwhile, the government is in discussions with international stakeholders to allow Dar es Salaam to host an international conference on poaching in 2013. The meeting will convene all stakeholders in Africa who are affected by the unprecedented wave of poaching for ivory and rhino horns in order to come up with the right solutions.

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