NCIS to train members of anti-poaching unit

WINDHOEK: The Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) will provide training to staff members of the newly established special anti-poaching unit to stop the surge in the killing of rhinos and elephants in Namibia.

The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uaheka Herunga told Nampa on Tuesday Cabinet has given the ministry the green light to form a special unit within the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), and to approach the NCIS to provide training to these officials.

“We are about to start now. This will be a special unit within the MET solely dedicated to anti-poaching activities. They need special training and equipment on how to attract such information and Cabinet authorised MET to approach NCIS to train these members,” he emphasised.

According to Herunga, members in the unit need to acquire a proper understanding of poaching, and also how to attract information on the illegal activity.

MET does not need an additional budget to sustain the unit at this stage, he indicated, s the ministry will make use of existing staff members to be deployed to this unit. A bigger budget will be requested during the next financial year.

Herunga said the army and other special forces will be deployed to patrol regions where poaching activities are on the rise such as Kavango East, Zambezi, Kunene and Erongo. The team will monitor activities in the respective regions, gather information and organise operations to catch poachers.

The minister said a special committee will inform bordering countries such as Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe about the increase of armed patrols that will be deployed along the borders of Namibia. This will take place at a later stage.

“We do not want to raise unnecessary suspicion from our neighbours when they see a sudden increase of our forces along our borders – we first need to convey such a message to them,” he noted.

An anti-poaching unit is the establishment of a law enforcement element that has the direct responsibility of wildlife protection in a designated area.

Meanwhile, Herunga also warned Namibians to refrain from poaching activities in order to save rhinos and elephants for future generations.

There has been a sharp increase in poaching recently, with poachers killing 10 elephants and 10 rhinos this year in parks in Kavango, Zambezi and Kunene regions respectively.