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    21 September, 2018
Poachers and illegal loggers jailed
 
Maputo, 21 Sep (AIM) – The Chigubo district court, in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza, has, over the past three months, sentenced 14 people to jail terms of between 15 days and 12 years for poaching and illegal logging in the Banhine National Park.

The park authorities say that the court cases are the culmination of efforts by park wardens to combat the criminal destruction of wildlife.

The Banhine park administrator, Abel Nhabanga, said that 34 cases have been submitted to the court over the last nine months resulting so far in the 14 convictions. Most of the accused, he said, came from other districts in Gaza, and from parts of the neighbouring province of Inhambane.

Wardens detected them inside the park, some as they were hunting animals, and others as they were cutting down trees for firewood and charcoal. They have been tried under the amended conservation law, passed by the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, in 2016.  The law increased the penalty for poaching to a maximum of 16 years imprisonment.

The district court also confiscated the vehicles, motor-bikes and bicycles used by the poachers and loggers. These goods now revert to the Mozambican state. The poachers’ guns were also seized and handed over to the police, while the court ordered the destruction of their traps.

“The increase in the number of cases of people convicted for poaching in the Banhine National Park shows awareness on the part of the bodies of the administration of justice of the need to conserve biodiversity”, said Nhabanga.

He added that the park has held campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity, which have involved local communities, members of the police, prosecutors and judges.
(AIM)

 
 
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