Verdade Online (provided by Save the Elephants)

Adarito Caldeira,
January 2, 2018

<http://www.verdade.co.mz/tema-de-fundo/35-themadefundo/64501-mais-24-elefantes-abatidos-na-reserva-do-niassa-so-em-2017-furtivos-mataram-356-em-mocambique>
Foto cdida pela ANAC

During the penultimate week of 2017 another 24 elephants were killed by
poachers in the Niassa National Reserve (RNN), raising to 356 the number of
pachyderms that were killed last year in Mozambique. In connection, the few
and poorly armed Treasury of the Reserve seized dozens of ivory and
hundreds of ammunition for AK-47 machine gunners in the village of Mbamba.
No sneak was arrested, a surveillance plane that located a gunpowder camp
attacked.

The poachers of elephants do not give respite in RNN. During the last week
of 2017 at least three animals were slaughtered. Two were females and were
pregnant, the third was one of the few animals carrying a satellite collar
for monitoring by the surveillance authorities.

The previous week, another 24 pachyderms had been killed by the poachers
who the National Conservation Areas Administration (ANAC) believe are of
Tanzanian and Burundian origin, with Mozambican collaborators living in the
village of Mbamba, where they are headed when they are on the run.

Following an action by the supervisory authorities on 26 December, near
that village, 30 marbles and 138 ammunition for AK-47 machine guns were
seized.

“The coloring, the appearance and the varied size of the tusks indicate
that the elephants were all slaughtered at the same time and that they are
probably from a family,” he explained to ANAC’s source.

In addition to the ivory tusks authorities confiscated cell phones, axes
scales, solar panel, four lion paws and part of the skull, and even food
products in large quantities. “The large amount of food confiscated
indicates that poachers are well organized (organized crime) and supported
by their constituents and collaborators.”

According to the source, the hundreds of ammunition found “indicate the
availability of large quantities of ammunition and weapons of war in the
hands of poachers, whose origin cannot yet be confirmed.”

“We are aware that there are community leaders involved with poachers in
the village of Mbamba,” he told the official ANAC adding “that there is a
network or several organized crime networks that operate unpunished in the
Niassa Reserve and in the provinces of Niassa and Cabo Delgado, some based
in Montepuez and Balama, from where they organize logistics and support for
the realization of the crimes.”

Data from the ANAC indicate that it was not until the middle of December
last year that 332 elephants had been killed in all the Mozambique Reserves
in an upsurge that fuels the ivory trade that flows through the ports of
Pemba and Nacala, “and from where the containers are confiscated in
Cambodia and Vietnam.”

We use slingshot while poachers use automatic weapons

According to the National Administration of Conservation Areas, a large
part of the Niassa Reserve community rejects the attitude and criminal
activity of poachers, their leaders and employees, but a small group
supported by two community leaders continues to commit crimes and
collaborate with the stealthy.

It is communities that benefit directly from the activity of Bravio
Official and Fazenda Coutadas, operators in the Reserve, but may stop
receiving it in case of stealth support.

It?s true, for example, at least 160 residents of the village of Mbamba
received more than 583,000 meticais this year for their honest work.
Another 525,000 meticais were delivered to the local community fund and
snacks for the children to continue to go to school.

Meanwhile, and in addition to the apparent disregard of the Government,
poaching was completely ignored in President Filipe Nyusi’s State of the
Nation Report, and there is misinformation about the reality of what is
happening in the critical Niassa National Reserve.

Contrary to some recently published news, ANAC clarified as “True” that
“there is no growth of the elephant population, on the contrary a reduction
and a disruption of the population structure jeopardizing its viability and
increasing the potential for conflict with the communities.”

The National Administration of Conservation Areas revealed to Verdade that
the number of inspectors in RNN, the largest in Mozambique with an area of
42 thousand square kilometers, including those of private operators, “is
only 190 — of these 90 belong to the Administration of Reserve and a large
part of these inspectors, including those of the state, do not have access
to weapons appropriate to their functions.”

Verdade knows that the Interior Ministry has created huge obstacles for
ANAC as well as private operators to better arm their fiscals, who still
use rifles, to confront poachers.

A plane of surveillance authorities, that in recent days has identified a
camp of criminals, literally received a shower of shots. “We use slingshot
while they use automatic weapons,” said ANAC source.