Police in collaboration with Interpol in Southern and Eastern zones have arrested nine people in possession of 1.2 tonnes of ivory with a value of Sh4.6 billion. These are part of a group of 256 people being held for various crimes including human trafficking, drug abuse, illegal migration, trading in minerals, possession of firearms and vehicles.
The Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Mr Diwani Athumani told journalists at a media briefing that the two-day joint operation was broadened by the participation of officials from the ministry of Energy and Minerals, Tanzania Revenue Authority, Tanzania Electric Supply Company, Immigration department and the Wildlife division. Code-named ‘Operation Usalama III’, the operation was part of the wider mission of eradicating crime.
“The crackdown covered eight zones which are; Northern zone, covering Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tanga and Manyara regions; Central zone, covering Dodoma, Morogoro and Singida and Dar es Salaam zone covering Kinondoni, Ilala, Temeke and Coastal regions,” said the DCI.
Others were Southern highlands (Mbeya, Iringa, Ruvuma and Njombe), Lake (Mwanza, Kagera, Shinyanga, Mara, Geita and Simiyu), Western (Kigoma, Tabora, Rukwa and Katavi), Southern (Lindi and Mtwara) and Zanzibar, for Unguja and Pemba.
According to Mr Athumani, the operation was a by-product of a two-day meeting held in Matola, Mozambique, between May 26-27, by 27 member countries of the Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation (SARPCCO) and Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Co-operation Organization (EAPCCO).
The DCI said that during the operation, 10 stolen vehicles were identified, whereby five originated in England, three in South Africa and two in Malaysia. “We are still inspecting five others to establish their ownership,” he said.
The police also identified 12 stolen motorbikes and investigations on 18 others are on-going. Other items that were seized include 83 grammes of heroin, 398 kilos of marijuana, 30 kilos of khat, one shotgun, 11 home-made guns, 104 riffles, and one arrow. Also on the list are counterfeit products like perfumes and cigarettes.
“We also netted 43 suspected illegal immigrants; 18 Congolese, 22 Burundians, two Rwandans and one Kenyan. All of them would be taken to court after completion of investigations and other procedures,” the DCI said.