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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Wildlife in Tanzania national park facing acute water shortage

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Decreased water levels in the Tarangire River is posing a threat to the survival of wild animals at Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania, authorities said on Sunday.

Allan Kijazi, the Director General of the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA), said wild animals in the park may face extinction in years to come if necessary measures were not taken to rescue Tarangire River from drying up.

Existence of animals and other living organisms at Tarangire National Park depend mostly on the river, which is currently facing reduced water levels.

“Water levels at Tarangire River are alarmingly low and this is threatening the existence of wild animals at the national park,” Kijazi told members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism on a visit to the park.

The water levels, he said, have fallen dramatically due to increased human economic activities along the main source of Tarangire River at Kondoa district in Dodoma region.

“We are calling upon parliament and the government to ensure that the source of Tarangire River is protected. If this is not taken into consideration, the lives of animals will be in danger,” he said.

A warden at Tarangire National Park, Herman Bitaho, said water levels have not improved despite an increase in the amount of rainfall.

“If water levels go down further, animals will be forced to go out in search of the vital liquid to quench their thirst as well as pasture. This may result into some catastrophic outcomes on lives of people around the national park,” he said.

The chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism, Kemilembe Luota, said although the decrease of water levels in the river could be caused by global warning, TANAPA’s alarm should not be ignored.

She said it was important for the government to revisit the importance of national parks to the economy and make sure that economic activities along the river do not interfere with the ecological system.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Tanzanian police gun down two suspected poachers

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian police have gunned down two suspected poachers and arrested three others in the western region of Katavi, an official said on Sunday.

Damas Nyanda, Katavi Regional Police Commander, said the exchange of fire that led to the deaths took place on Friday at around 10 p.m. local time at Kapalamsenga village in Tanganyika District.

“Police recovered 6.6 kilograms of ivory worth 14,960 U.S. dollars and 20 kilograms of game meat worth 1,760 U.S. dollars from the suspects,” Nyanda said in an interview.

He added that the three will be charged in court once the investigation is complete.

The regional police chief said law enforcers rushed to the village after receiving reports from concerned villagers about the arrival there of five strangers with suspected sinister motive.

According to Nyanda, upon arrival, the officers embarked on a search for one week and finally closed in on the suspects and laid down a trap to arrest them.

“But the unidentified five men became aware of the plan before they were apprehended and started firing at the police, resulting in an exchange of bullets that led to the death of the two,” he said.

“We found them with three short machine guns, 16 rounds of ammunition and five magazines, all of which we have confiscated,” Nyanda added.

Head of wildlife protection at Katavi National Park Zumbe Msindai said the operation was carried out by police, park wardens and good citizens who gave tip-offs on the suspects’ whereabouts.

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Former chief of Tanzania’s national public broad-
caster in court over economic sabotage

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The former Director General of Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), Tido Mhando, on Friday appeared in court charged with economic sabotage and abuse of office.

Mhando appeared in the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam charged with four counts of abuse of office and one count of occasioning a loss to the government amounting to 400,000 U.S. dollars.

The charges were read out by a prosecutor from the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) Leonard Swai who was assisted by Aneth Mavika, Pendo Temu and Dismass Muganyizi before Senior Resident Magistrate Upendo Nongwa.

According to the charges, on the first count, Mhando, who is currently deputy chief executive officer of privately owned Azam Media, in June 2008 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while discharging his functions as TBC director general, intentionally abused his position by signing a joint venture agreement for operating a television channel between TBC and Chanel 2 Group Cooperation (BVI) without floating a tender.

On the second count, the former TBC chief was charged with intentionally abusing his position by signing an agreement for digital terrestrial broadcasting between TBC and BVI without invitation of tenders, thereby giving undue advantage to BVI.

On the third count, in August 2008 in Dubai, UAE, being an employee of TBC, he abused his position by signing an agreement for the purchase, supply, installation and transmission equipment and broadcasting towers between TBC and BVI without invitation of tenders, thereby causing undue advantage to BVI.

According to the prosecutors, on the fourth count, Mhando intentionally abused his position by signing an agreement for operating DTT broadcasting infrastructure between TBC and BVI without floating any tender.

The accused denied all the charges and was released on bail after fulfilling the set bail conditions.

The accused was ordered to deposit in court half the amount of the alleged loss caused as bond or submit a title deed of unmovable property worth the amount. Another bail condition was to have two sureties.

The court also forbade the accused from travelling outside Dar es Salaam without the court’s permission.

Mhando had also worked with the BBC Swahili Service in London in the early 2000s before joining TBC as the top boss. Prior to joining the BBC, he worked with Radio Tanzania Dar es Salaam (RTD) and the Voice of Kenya (VoK) based in Nairobi.

             

 

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