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Namibia has reported 17 cases of wildlife crimes and 34 arrests during Operation Saving African Wildlife through Multilateral Assistance (SAMA), which was conducted between January and February.

Hosted by the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Customs Organisation (UNODC), Operation SAMA is the first Africa-focused initiative on wildlife trafficking.

Operation SAMA united 35 nations from East, West, Central, and Southern Africa in a concerted effort to combat the illicit wildlife trade. 

NamRA's Commissioner, Sam Shivute, emphasised the importance of unity in achieving this common goal. 

He says Namibia showcases its dedication to protecting its natural heritage and biodiversity, and its proactive measures represent a collective effort in the fight against wildlife crime. 

"For one to be effective in combating wildlife crime or activities, it cannot be the duty of one country; that's why you have these 35 countries, and this Operation SAMA is mostly led by customs because customs is a business of different countries. I am also happy that Namibia is a member of the CITES Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species in Fauna and Flora."

Moreover, the initiative has led to the identification, apprehension, and subsequent prosecution of numerous individuals involved in the illegal trade of wildlife.

The EU delegation's Ambassador to Namibia, Ana Beatriz Martins, lauded Namibia's proactive efforts in combating wildlife trafficking.

"The results speak for themselves, and we will talk about that in a moment: over 100 African endangered species across 19 countries, several arrests, and several prosecutions. The operation was supported by the EU as well as European member states. I cannot say a special word for Namibia or commend Namibia, which has been the most proactive member of SAMA, particularly NAMRA and NamPol, for their leadership and commitment together with the DRC, Uganda, Gabon, and Nigeria. NamRA is playing an important role in establishing the first port unit in Walvis Bay, which is dedicated to countering the elicit trafficking of animals."

The outcomes of SAMA highlight the crucial role that joint efforts play in combating wildlife trafficking, thereby significantly contributing to the conservation of Africa's priceless wildlife heritage.

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Johanna !Uri#khos