Tanzanian elephant poaching kingpin arrested in Mozambique
Authorities fighting poaching in Mozambique and Tanzania have captured an important figure in the slaughter of elephants in the Niassa National Reserve. This is Mateso Albano Kasian, a Tanzanian citizen with a Mozambican identity card, who is suspected of being the accomplice of the group of Chinese citizens from the city of Shuidong who dominate the ivory trade to Asia via the port of Pemba.
His detention took place on 11 July in Montepuez, Cabo Delgado, as a result of close collaboration between the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), the Tanzania Government’s National & Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU), the Niassa National Reserve, the National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) and the Attorney General of the Republic of Mozambique.
According to @Verdade, Kasian, also known as Mateso Chupi, had been sought by the authorities of the neighbouring country since 2013 and by national authorities since 2014 on the basis of evidence suggesting he was the leader of an extensive network of poachers in the Reserve Niassa National Park.
Hussein Twalibu Safi, one of Mateso’s operatives, was detained in Tanzania with eight tusks and a gun and ammunition in June of last year and confessed that he worked for Kasian.
According to anti-poaching authorities, Safi was responsible for the slaughter of 26 elephants in the Niassa National Reserve during the first months of 2017 alone. The elephant population in the country’s largest reserve has fallen from more than 11,000 in 2011 to just 6,000 in 2015
Mozambican ports and airports are “hubs” of trafficking
@Verdade sources say that Kasian is one of the main suppliers of ivory to the Shuidong Chinese who dominates the trade to Asia and uses as Pemba, in Cabo Delgado as their main port of exit because of the ease of bribing public officials involved in the export process.
Mateso Albano Kasian is being held at Pemba penitentiary, and could be held accountable under the recently revised Law of Protection, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity that has penalized with a prison sentence of 12 to 16 years and a corresponding fine “anyone who slaughters, heads, directs , promotes, instigates, creates or finances, joins, supports, collaborates, directly or indirectly, a group, organisation or association of two or more persons who, acting in concert, jointly or separately practice the crime of slaughter or destruction of protected or prohibited species of fauna and flora, including species listed in CITES Appendices I and II or illegal exploitation of mineral resources in Conservation Areas and buffer zone”.
Law 16/2014, revised in December 2016 and enacted only in April 2017, provides for equal punishment for those who sell, distribute, buy, transfer, receive, transport, import, export, transit or even detain protected animals.
Meanwhile, Mozambican borders remain the preferred route for poachers. It is estimated that more than five tons of ivory and other poaching trophies have been smuggled through the port of Pemba last year, while hundreds of kilograms have managed to pass through Maputo international airport scanners.
A citizen of Vietnamese nationality residing in Mozambique was arrested on 14 July at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia carrying about 36 kilograms of partially processed ivory in his baggage.