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Four Tanzanians Named in Hong Kong Ivory Seizure

Photo © Nevit DilmenIn an exclusive interview with The Citizen on Monday, a representative from Interpol’s Dar es Salaam office said that four Tanzanians have been named in connection with the seizure of a $3.4 million illegal ivory shipment in Hong Kong last week.  Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source said that Chinese officials investigating the case have asked Tanzanian authorities to intercept the four suspects.  The four were identified after extensive interrogations in Hong Kong, where Chinese authorities have arrested 7 people in connection with the shipment.

Despite the insistence by Tanzania’s Wildlife Officer in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism that the ivory seized did not originate in Tanzania (see our previous blog post for details), the Interpol source stated: ““It seems that the ivory consignment seized in Hong Kong last week is from Selous Game Reserve and Mikumi…we shall launch investigations into the matter.”

The incident has focused the spotlight on Tanzania’s on-going poaching problems, and may ignite increased opposition to the country’s proposal to CITES to sell its government-held ivory stockpile, valued at over $55 million.

Tanzanian government officials declined to comment for the story, noting that they were awaiting more details from their Chinese counterparts.

Click here to read the full story in The Citizen.