Agence France Presse, December 30, 2013
This month Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete sacked four top ministers amid accusations that the anti-poaching drive — codenamed ‘Operation Tokomeza’, or ‘Operation Terminate’ — had led to security forces carrying out a wave of killings as well as torture and rape.But Deputy Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Lazaro Nyalandu signalled that the draconian operation, in force during October, had at least resulted in a drop in poaching.
“Those to be approached include the European Union and Asian countries. Asian countries are reportedly main consumers of elephant tusks and by-products,” Nyalandu said, adding that Tanzania’s wildlife department and ranger service needed to be strengthened.
The anti-poaching operation saw the security forces operating under a shoot-to-kill policy and making sweeping arrests.
Poaching has risen sharply in Africa in recent years. Besides targeting rhinos, whole herds of elephants have been massacred for their ivory — threatening the tourism sector, a key foreign currency earner for Tanzania.