Eleven are sentenced to death in Tanzania for killing conservationists

Wayne Lotter, who was killed in Dar es Salaam in 2017, may have been singled out for his anti-poaching activities.

A court in Tanzania has sentenced 11 people to death for the 2017 murder of renowned anti-poaching activist Wayne Lotter.

Conservationist Lotter, a 51-year-old South African living in Tanzania, was a founding member of the PAMS Foundation that worked to stop elephant poaching and the ivory trade in the East African country.

He was shot dead in Dar es Salaam when the taxi he was traveling in was ambushed.

The exact motive for his murder is still unknown, but Lotter’s colleagues believe he was singled out for his work protecting elephants.

Those sentenced to death on Friday included nine Tanzanians and two citizens of neighboring Burundi.

Supreme Court Justice Leila Mgonya said there was compelling evidence linking the 11 to the two charges they were charged with: conspiracy to commit murder and murder.

“Some of the suspects have confessed in their statements recorded by police officers that they participated in conspiracy meetings and murders,” Judge Laila Mgonya told the court.

“The evidence provided was strong enough to convict them.”

Death sentences are not uncommon in Tanzania, but they are generally commuted to life in prison.

The last execution in the country was in 1994.

Tanzania is one of the African countries worst affected by elephant poaching, with more than 66,000 elephants lost in 10 years.

A report by the NGO Global Witness found that 200 environmental activists will have been killed worldwide by 2021 and more than 1,700 in the past 10 years.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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