Tanzania: Mourners to Pay Last Respects to Elephant Conservationist

Wayne Lotter

Dar es Salaam — Mourners are expected to pay their last respects today, Tuesday, to elephant conservationist, Wayne Lotter, who was shot dead last week in Dar es Salaam.

The send-off ceremony will be held at his Mikocheni home in the city before the body is taken to Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) for a flight to his native South Africa for burial.

The 51-year old was gunned down when three armed men ambushed a taxi he was riding in at about midnight last Wednesday in the city. He had just arrived from Arusha. He was shot at close range and died on the spot. A female colleague Ms Krissie Clark and the driver escaped unhurt.

Meanwhile, the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) condemned the killing and called on the government to speed up investigations.

In his statement, THRDC national coordinator Mr Onesmo Olengurumwa said the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.

"While appreciating that the police have launched investigations, the time, energy and resources devoted by Mr Lotter in supporting the government's anti-poaching war need to be appreciated by swiftly finding the killers," he said.

He said enough protection should be accorded to rights defenders while performing their dangerous tasks of bringing justice to all.

Mr Olengurumwa called on the civil society to condemn acts that threatens activities to advocate human rights in the country.

Mr Lotter was key member of the Tanzania's elite anti-poaching National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) which is credited with arrests of major ivory traffickers including Ms Yang Feng Glan, the so-called "Ivory Queen" and Boniface Mathew Mariango alias "The Devil".

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