Since December 2016, LATF has been coordinating a transnational investigation on a wildlife trafficking case in which 6 tons of pangolin scales were seized in Tanzania on 28th October, 2016 having originated from Uganda. The investigations led to the arrest of 10 suspects including a Ugandan who were later taken to court in Morogoro, Tanzania. Three (3) others on the run are being pursued.
The main suspect by the name of GAKOU FODIE, a Malian national, whom the authorities in Tanzania have been looking for since the seizure incident was located and arrested in Kampala Uganda on 28th December 2016 by a joint team of investigators from both countries and LATF. Upon arrest, the government of Tanzania requested for extradition of the suspect to Tanzania to be jointly prosecuted with others in Morogoro, Tanzania.
The extradition proceedings were instituted and concluded through a High Court ruling in Uganda which ordered the extradition of the suspect. The suspect was subsequently extradited on 31st May 2017 and handled over to Tanzania officials at Mutukula border. He was thereafter transferred to Dar es Salaam on 1st June 2017 for prosecution.
LATF commends the two governments of Tanzania and Uganda for successfully arresting and extraditing the criminal to stand trial. We commend Freeland Foundation for partially supporting LATF in this investigation and urge for enhanced technical and financial support towards LATF’s work in supporting Lusaka Agreement member countries in their wildlife enforcement efforts in the region.
The fight against wildlife trafficking will only be won through effective and increased cooperative enforcement operations among affected source, transit and destination countries of the contrabands specimens and with the financial and logistical support of committed partners.