Tanzania: Kigwangalla Orders Arrest of 'Poaching Kingpins'

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Dodoma/Dar es Salaam — Natural Resources and Tourism minister Hamis Kigwangalla yesterday gave the Police Force seven days to arrest four suspected poachers.

He threatened to report the matter to the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence and Security Forces, President John Magufuli, if the ultimatum is ignored. Dr Kigwangalla told a news conference in Dodoma that the Police Force was fully aware of the existence of the "criminal ring" but had been slow to act.

"The Police have information on people who planned the assassination of the anti-poaching campaigner from South Africa, Wayne Lotter," he said.

Mr Lotter, 51, who lived and worked in Tanzania for many years, was waylaid and shot by three gunmen in Dar es Salaam last August.

He worked with the National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU), which is credited with the arrest of several high-profile ivory traffickers in recent years.

Dr Kigwangalla said police arrested one of the alleged killers, but had done nothing about the four poaching kingpins who planned the assassination.

He added that he had personally communicated to the police over the issue, but nothing had been done.

"Upon expiry of the seven days, I will take the matter to the Commander-in-Chief for his intervention," Dr Kigwangalla said.

In another development, Dr Kigwangalla issued another seven-day ultimatum to directors of hunting companies and officials of the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) to report to a yet-to-be-named special task force for questioning.

He also directed that people who had invaded block number 4091 in Njiro, Arusha, submit their documents of occupancy to the Commissioner of Lands.

Dr Kigwangalla said the Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB), under Serengeti Safari Lodge, was the rightful owner of the block.

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