DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) --
Nine poachers on Friday appeared before a Tanzanian
court charged with killing 86 elephants and five buffaloes.
attorneys told the Mbeya regional court that the suspects killed the animals
between August 2006 and September 2014 in Mbeya, Iringa, Tanga and Morogoro
The attorneys told the packed court that most of the suspects were related to
a heavyweight politician from the country’s ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).
They said the killed elephants and buffaloes were valued at 1 million U.S.
The state attorneys said one of the suspects, identified as the son of a
Member of Parliament on the ticket of the ruling party, was two weeks ago found
guilty of illegal possession of government trophies.
On October 29, President John Magufuli directed Tanzanian security forces to
hunt down poachers and all criminals financing the poaching of elephants.
The order was made following the President’s visit to the Natural Resources
and Tourism Ministry where he saw 50 elephant tusks that were seized from
He said the Tanzania’s National and Transnational Serious Crimes
Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) have his full support in their fight against
According to a 2015 census, the elephant population in Tanzania shrank from
110,000 in 2009 to around 43,000 in 2014, while rhinos are said to be on the
verge of extinction.