2 February 2016

Tanzania: Magufuli Condemns British Chopper Pilot Killing

Photo: The Citizen
Helicopter pilot Roger Gower, right, assists with anti-poaching activities in Tanzania’s Katavi National Park. On January 28, he died after he was shot by poachers while trying to track them down. (file photo)

President John Magufuli has strongly condemned the killing of the British Pilot, Roger Gower whose helicopter was gunned down during the confrontation with poachers at the Maswa Game Reserve in Simiyu region over the weekend.

A statement released by the Directorate of Communication from the State house said President Magufuli has directed the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to ensure the involved culprits are caught and brought to justice.

He moreover promised that his government will continue with efforts against anti-poaching to reserve the wildlife. "I personally support the fight against poaching in our game reserves and national parks.

Also I urge various stakeholders not to be discouraged by the incident and instead let us join hands against the poachers" said the President in the statement. The previous report by the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to the public said five suspects were held in connection with the incident to assist investigation.

Also the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) cautioned that these people are heavily armed with sophisticated military weapons used for illegal poaching of elephants in our conservation areas hence mass efforts from all stakeholders mostly the citizens are crucial for the success of the mission.

On the same issue the Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Prof Jumanne Maghembe stressed that it was high time major anti poaching operations are conducted on national parks and game reserves especially in those areas bordering villages as some poachers may pose as residents.

The president has sent his condolences to the British embassy for the lost citizen pilot Gower who was providing his services for anti- poaching service in the country. Gower has been working in Tanzania for seven years.

The incident which caught the attention of many international media and organisations took place over the weekend when Roger was flying the helicopter and his co-pilot, Mr Nicky Bester and game security officer were badly injured. Three elephants were found killed by the poachers.

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