Ver Angola

Environment

Director of Environmental Crimes Unit says poaching in the country is supported by defense and security agencies

The director of the Environmental Crimes Unit said this Thursday that the practice of poaching in the country counts on "some special protection from organs that guarantee public order and security".

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José Rodrigues, who participated in a debate on "Environmental Crimes: Deforestation, Poaching and Burning", held by Angolan public radio, said that the practice is promoted in the country by "provincial commanders, second commanders, general officers.

According to José Rodrigues, this hunting is illegal and is carried out with the use of firearms, many of them from special reserves of the State, due to their calibre.

He stressed that from an administrative point of view, hunting that is not for the survival of the communities is prohibited, but what happens in reality is that it is "a daily routine practice, with exemption from criminal responsibility, including a kind of special protection of the organs that guarantee public order.

"There is a decree from the Ministry of the Environment, which prohibits the trade of slaughtered or live species in national markets and roads, but if we move around the whole national territory we find several markets where they sell slaughtered species, many of them endangered, and we see that at the level of the city of Luanda there is a tourism focused on the consumption of meat from wildlife," said the responsible.

José Rodrigues noted that at the 20th Angola/Namibia conference of the Defence and Security Committee, Angola was once again cited for the practice of poaching, having "clearly and objectively demonstrated that poaching in Angola is promoted, sustained, fed by high public officials.

"That as a consequence of impunity, which has become a culture in Angola, these same people are exempt from criminal, civil and other consequences, devoting their lives to poaching at weekends," he stressed.

In 2017, indicated José Rodrigues, the Environmental Crimes Unit presented evidence to the Public Prosecutor's Office, sent reports to the Presidency of the Republic, but "the truth is that it never got an answer.

The director of the Environmental Crimes Unit, created under a presidential decree, which in 2015 created the Multisectoral Commission against Environmental Crimes Related to Wild Fauna and Flora, stressed that the Attorney General's Office (PGR) is in charge of protecting the environment and diffuse interests, "but for over 20 years there has not been a formal pronouncement" before relevant facts of public accusations about deforestation, poaching, the slaughter of emblematic species of the country.

The Environmental Crimes Unit aims to collect and classify information, and share it with organs dedicated to the administration of justice, in this case the PGR, the Criminal Investigation Service and other related organs, as well as present bills and proposals for policy programs.