Nairobi, Oct 11 – Two men on the list of eastern Africa’s most wanted suspects for committing wildlife crimes have been arrested in Malawi, the world’s largest international police organisation, INTERPOL, reported.
Brothers Chancy and Patrick Kaunda of Malawi, who were the subjects of INTERPOL Red Notices issued at the request of Tanzania, are suspected of attempting to export 781 elephant tusks from Tanzania to Malawi without the proper permits in 2013. The illicit tusks, valued at $5.8 million, were concealed in a shipment of bags of cement, INTERPOL said in a statement issued in October 6.
Malawian police, in cooperation with Tanzanian authorities and supported by a team deployed by INTERPOL, apprehended one of the fugitives in northern Malawi on October 4. Further intelligence leading from the arrest assisted police in locating and apprehending the second brother just a few hours later.
The arrests took place within the framework of Operation Usalama IV, an operation led by the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO) and the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (SARPCCO) with support from INTERPOL. The two-day operation targeted transnational crimes including human, drug and arms trafficking, people smuggling, terrorism, counterfeit and illicit goods and environmental crime.
“These arrests demonstrate the commitment of Malawi and Tanzania to combating the organized crime networks active in environmental crime through an intelligence-led law enforcement approach,” said Henri Fournel, Coordinator of INTERPOL’s Project Wisdom. “We congratulate our colleagues for apprehending these fugitives, and commend all our member countries in Africa and Asia for their continued dedication in the fight against international ivory trafficking.”
The arrests highlight the importance of ongoing cooperation between INTERPOL’s Project Wisdom and local authorities to tackle the illegal trafficking of ivory and rhinoceros horns in Africa.
Funded by The Wildcat Foundation, Project Wisdom encourages INTERPOL’s 192 member countries to prioritize international exchange of information and to expand their use of INTERPOL policing capability, including its colour-coded notices system to investigate, locate and apprehend environmental criminals.