LATF CROSS-BORDER COLLABORATION HELPS TO RECOVER A STOLEN VEHICLE IN TANZANIA

A stolen car was recovered when four (4) Kenyan suspects, 3 men and a lady were arrested by wildlife officers at Nkomazi National Park in the north-eastern parts of the United Republic of Tanzania on 1st June, 2015. The suspects were arrested for fraudulently entering into Tanzania and for being in a national park illegally. The wildlife officers in Tanzania quickly shared the arrest with Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) which shared information with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and coordinated subsequent investigations.

After receiving an alert about the stolen vehicle, LATF coordinated the recovery efforts with KWS, the Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations, and the Tanzania Wildlife Division (TWD) through the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA). Efforts by these agencies yielded excellent results and eventually the four (4) suspects and the stolen vehicle were repatriated back to Kenya.

One of the arrested suspects is a businessman dealing with general plastic items but is also involved in smuggling un-accustomed goods across the Kenya/Tanzania international border. Preliminary investigations into the incident revealed that the suspects were in possession of a vehicle robbed from a motorist near the town of Maungu after which they drove it across the border into Nkomazi National Park in Tanzania.

The suspects have been charged at Voi Law Courts for (1) Robbery with violence, and (2)       Handling stolen property. Both counts are very serious offences in Kenya and the first one attracts a death penalty. This is a success story of the cross-border collaboration that exists between Kenya and Tanzania and is one of the most recent operations between LATF, KWS, TWD and TANAPA. The cooperation that started as a forum for information sharing to curb cross-border wildlife crime is now complementing Government’s efforts to fight other cross-border criminal activities.

Interagency collaboration and cooperative enforcement operations are key to enhancing law enforcement effectiveness. LATF encourages wildlife law enforcement officers to continue dominating the crime-prone areas along the Kenya/Tanzania border through enhanced surveillance and joint patrols in order to seal the known illegal smuggling routes.

LATF encourages all African states, particularly member states to Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora, to continue developing and maintaining similar cross-border collaboration mechanisms in tackling organized crime within the continent.

Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) on Cooperative enforcement Operations directed at Illegal Trade in wild Fauna and Flora