Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | A Tanzanian court has sentenced nine people to at least 25 years in prison for illegal possession of ivory, as part of efforts to discourage poaching in one of the worst-hit countries.
According to court documents seen by AFP Saturday, the accused, including two police officers, had been “found in possession of 70 elephant tusks”.
The two policemen were sentenced on Friday to 35 years in prison, and the six others to 25 years each.
In a separate case in the north of the country a man was on Friday sentenced to 20 years in prison for possession of eight tusks, a court official told AFP.
Tanzania has been one of the worst hit by elephant poaching, losing over 66,000 elephants in the last decade.
However, the National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) has scored some massive successes in recent years, arresting nearly 900 poachers and illegal ivory traders.
In August, leading South African conservationist Wayne Lotter, who co-founded the PAMS foundation that finances the NTSCIU, was shot dead in Dar es Salaam in an incident some believe was linked to his work.