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Zambia convicts foreigners over smuggling of 12 Sable antelope

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- A court in Zambia has convicted seven foreigners who were caught while attempting to smuggle 12 Sable antelopes from Zambia to South Africa, the country’s wildlife agency has said.

The seven foreigners, including six South Africans and one Zimbabwean, were arrested in October this year in southern Zambia’s Monze district when Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) officers smashed a smuggling syndicate of animals and seized a specially equipped lift craft, vehicles, weapons and veterinary drugs.

The seven were arrested as they attempted to off-load the animals from a trailer and prepare to put them in the aircraft parked under trees near a dirt landing strip in the bush.

ZAWA Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe said the seven foreigners pleaded guilty to 13 counts which included unlawful possession of prohibited articles namely wildlife and being in possession of ammunitions, among other charges.

The foreigners have since been fined 200,000 Zambian kwacha (about 20,000 U.S. dollars).

The animals were later delivered and released into Munda Wanga Sanctuary, south of Lusaka, the country’s capital for observation and rehabilitation but six of the animals died due to stress.


Zambia wildlife agency arrests 21 poachers amid further crackdown

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- A major crackdown on poaching which has reached alarming levels resulted in the arrest of 21 poachers and confiscation of various weapons used in killing of animals from the country’s parks, Zambia’s wildlife agency said on Tuesday.

Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe said the 21 poachers were arrested in a game management area, Chikwa-Chifunda, in eastern Zambia’s Chama district during an operation conducted over the weekend.

The wildlife agency also confiscated seven muzzle loading guns, one shotgun, 11 wires as well as three barrels of muzzle loading gun, according to a statement released.

The official further said the poachers were found with one carcass of a reedbuck and one carcass of a bushback and some marijuana.

"There has been a lot of apprehension from the communities of Chikwa-Chifunda Game Management Area following ZAWA’s operation because it seems the people had a free-for-all attitude towards wildlife resources.

"The authority will not relent in the quest to preserve wildlife for benefit of Zambians," he said.

Zambia has witnessed an increase in poaching of animals from its national parks.

Recently the wildlife agency arrested seven foreigners for attempting to smuggle 12 sable antelopes to South Africa in a light aircraft.

Last month, the Chinese government donated various equipment and vehicles to strengthen the agency’s resolve to protect wildlife.

Among the donated items included 25 pick-up trucks, 40 all-terrain vehicles, 250 motorcycles and 4,915 tents.


Zambia suspends issuance of forestry concession licenses

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government has suspended the issuance and renewal of forest concession licenses in order to coordinate the process of reviewing the country’s new regulations.

Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Christabel Ngimbu said during a press briefing that the suspension will be in effect until all the regulations and procedures have been completed.

The government, she said, is in the process of reviewing old regulations and develop new ones in order to enhance sustainable management of the country’s forest resources.

The government recently enacted a new law to govern the operations of the forest sector which requires operationalization.

The new law has a number of features that address emerging issues in the forest sector, she added.

Last month, the government announced that it will put in place measures that will ensure that no raw timber is exported out of the country as a way of promoting value addition and creating employment.

Zambia has about 50 million hectares of forests but the country loses between 250,000 and 300,000 hectares of forests each year, according to government figures.

Zambia’s forests could contribute up to 10 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if properly managed.

Currently, the forest contributes less than 1 percent to the GDP.

Zambia leader pledges to take graft fight to another level

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the Anti-Corruption Day here Wednesday with President Edgar pledging to take the fight against the vice to another level.

Lungu, who officiated at the event, said he wanted to be remembered as a president "who walked the talk" in fighting corruption by ensuring that he does not interfere with government agencies tasked with the responsibility of fighting the scourge.

The Zambian leader further reiterated that he will not protect any public officials caught up in corrupt activities and has since warned public officials and contractors who were in the habit of channeling public resources for their personal gain that the wrath of the law will visit them.

The government, he said, is still committed to ensuring that it strengthens all institutions involved in fighting corruption in order to achieve zero tolerance to corruption and advised the institutions not to be used by certain individuals to settle their personal scores.

The Zambian leader further asked the anti-corruption agency to strengthen and enforce the law on the protection of whistle blowers in order to encourage more people to give out information on alleged corruption activities.

Meanwhile, the head of the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) said the institution will continue devising mechanisms aimed at breaking the corruption chain.

Justice Timothy Kabalata said corruption has devastating effects on the economic development of any country if left unchecked.

And the global anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International, has called on political parties in Zambia to reveal their sources of funding as a matter of transparency and to avoid putting the nation on fire.

Lee Habasonda, the head of the anti-corruption watchdog in Zambia also called on political parties to avoid engaging in corruption during next year’s general elections.

This theme for this year’s Anti-Corruption Day is "Beak the Corruption Chain".

Zambian President Edgar Lungu has fired police Inspector-General

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambian President Edgar Lungu has fired the county’s top cop and sent her into the diplomatic mission, his office said in a Tuesday statement.

Presidential spokesperson Amos Chanda said that Lungu has dropped Stella Libongani as Inspector-General of the Zambia Police and has deployed her as the country’s high commissioner to Canada.

Kakoma Kanganja, who was her deputy, has since been elevated as the new inspector-general, the brief statement said, without giving reasons why she has been dropped.

Libongani was appointed in 2012 by late President Michael Sata as the county’s first female inspector-general of the Zambia Police.


Kenya Wildlife Service rangers arrest herders for poisoning lions



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