- This unit only completed training in October 2017.
- Although fully qualified, these rangers are still refining their skills.
- The networks of informants and community supporters they depend upon are still on developing.
- The people they are fighting against have been operating for years (some of them decades) together…and the poachers are often well-funded.
- In contrast to previous law enforcement attempts, the offenders had no chance to flee and were taken into custody with no violence. All evidence was seized and preserved
June 20, 2018
Following arrests by our Akashinga wildlife rangers, three members of one of Zimbabwe’s most elusive ivory syndicates have received mandatory prison sentences! This is the direct result of an investigation by International Anti-Poaching Foundation’s all-female Akashinga anti-poaching unit, and subsequent raids in conjunction with Zimbabwe’s Minerals and Border Control Unit (MBCU). First raid As we shared with you last week, the first raid happened on 11 June 2018, at approximately 2200 local time. Under the cover of darkness, the Akashinga unit executed a raid on a house suspected to be harbouring key members of an ivory syndicate. These wanted men were on the run and considered armed and dangerous. The two men—Mr. Anyway Fopo and Mr. Elia Tivapasi—were taken into custody without incident and found in possession of ivory at the time of their arrests. Second raid (!) Three nights later, your dedicated Akashinga team conducted a second successful raid! Once more, our team operated in conjunction with Zimbabwe’s MBCU as they executed a third conservation-related arrest. This time it was Paul Chingwaro, a buyer and seller of ivory, who found himself in handcuffs. Mr. Chingawaro worked with poachers as a middleman, (illegally) selling their illegally obtained animal parts. These raids and arrests follow a two-month investigation by IAPF’s Akashinga unit…and the excellent outcomes show what these rangers are capable of accomplishing. Sentences Handed Down Shortly after his arrest, Mr. Fopo received a mandatory prison sentence of nine years for violating two sections of the Parks and Wildlife Act (Chapter 20:14) which prohibit the transportation of animal parts and possession of ivory without a permit. He is expected to face additional poaching charges in court. On 14 June 2018, Mr. Tivapasi was also sentenced to nine years in jail for violating two sections of the Parks and Wildlife Act. He is under further investigation by Zimbabwe’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for murder charges. These charges stem from a shootout with National Park rangers which resulted in the death of two people. On 18 June 2018, Mr. Chingawaro was sentenced to nine years for violating two sections of the Parks and Wildlife Act (Chapter 20:14)—transportation of animal parts and possession of ivory without a permit. These three recent arrests by your Akashinga team bring their total arrests to 51. This is a great result under any circumstances, but consider a few things: