Wildlife criminals arrested in Malawi


Two of East Africa’s most wanted wildlife criminals were arrested in a joint operation co-ordinated by Interpol.

Brothers Chancy and Patrick Kaunda of Malawi, both with Interpol Red Notices against their names, have long been suspected of attempting to illegally export 781 elephant tusks from Tanzania to Malawi. They did not have the proper permits or authorisation for the illicit export operation, valued at just on US six million. The tusks were apparently hidden in a cargo of cement.

Malawi police, in co-operation with Tanzanian authorities and supported by an Interpol team, apprehended one of the brothers, who was on the run, in northern Malawi on October 4. Intelligence gathered during the first arrest saw the second brother located and apprehended just hours later.

The arrests were executed within the framework of Operation Usalama IV, an operation led by the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) and the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation (SARPCCO) with Interpol support. The two-day operation targeted transnational crimes including human, drug and arms trafficking, people smuggling, terrorism, counterfeit and illicit goods and environmental crime.
“The arrests demonstrate the commitment of Malawi and Tanzania to combating organised crime networks active in environmental crime through an intelligence-led law enforcement approach. We congratulate our colleagues for apprehending the fugitives and commend our member countries in Africa and Asia for continued dedication in the fight against international ivory trafficking,” said Henri Fournel, Interpol Project Wisdom co-ordinator.

The arrests also serve to highlight the importance of ongoing co-operation between Project Wisdom and local authorities in tackling illegal trafficking of wildlife products, including rhino horn and ivory, in Africa.

Funded by The Wildcat Foundation, Project Wisdom encourages Interpol’s 192 member countries to prioritise international information exchange and to expand the use of Interpol policing capability tools, including its colour-coded notices system to investigate, locate and apprehend environmental criminals.