February 23, 2018 / 4:43 PM / 2 years ago

Five more charged in Tanzania for murder of anti-poaching activist

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Five more suspects were charged in a Tanzanian court on Friday for the murder of prominent conservationist Wayne Lotter, bringing to eight the total number of people arraigned over the killing.

Three other suspects were charged for the same crime in October last year. Lotter, 51, co-founder of PAMS Foundation USA, a non governmental organization that supports anti-poaching efforts across Africa, was shot dead in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam on Aug. 16, 2017.The five suspects charged yesterday include a Burundian national, Nduimana Jonas, 40, who is also known by the alias “the Priest,” according to court documents seen by Reuters. The other suspects arraigned on Friday at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court are Tanzanian businessmen Godfrey Salamba, 42, Innocent Kimaro, 23, Chambie Ally, 32, and a local bank employee, Robert Mwaipyana, 31.The three suspects charged last year for shooting dead the South African-born conservationist are bank employee Khalid Mwinyi, 33, his sister Rahma Mwinyi, 37, and a laborer, Mohamed Maganga, 61.The suspects, who were charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder, were not allowed to enter a plea until the case is transferred to the Tanzanian High Court, which has jurisdiction over murder cases. The case was adjourned until March 6 when it is scheduled to come up for another mentioning.Lotter supported an elite Tanzanian anti-poaching unit that has had a number of successful arrests in recent years, colleagues said.He also worked on the Ivory Queen case, which saw Yang Feng Glan, a Chinese, charged with running a smuggling empire that stretched form East Africa to Asian markets. She denies the charges in a separate ongoing court case in Tanzania. It was unclear if Lotter’s death was related to his work, colleagues said. His assailant reportedly stole his laptop, said two colleagues who declined to be named.

“We are relieved that some of the perpetrators responsible for his untimely death have been apprehended and are being brought to justice,” PAMS Foundation said in a statement.

Reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by George Obulutsa

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