Angola's former combatants to become "soldiers of nature"

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UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner attends the inauguration of a Ranger Training School in Cuando Cubango Province of Angola. UN Radio/Eleuterio Guevane

Angola's new school for wildlife rangers will turn former combatants into "soldiers of nature", the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has said.

The southern African nation is hosting this year's World Environment Day (WED) celebrations.

Many of the trainee rangers took part in Angola's long civil war which ended in 2002.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

Angola's former soldiers from both sides of the divide will turn their skills into tracking and arresting poachers in the south-eastern Cuando-Cubango province.

The Ranger Training School can train up to 500 rangers at a time and is part of wider efforts to end the illegal trade in wildlife.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner cut the ribbon on the new school.

"I think we have seen so many good steps being taken in the right direction. Environment and development must become friends, brothers and sisters, not enemies. And I think this is where… for instance now and the 5th of June with the focus on the illegal trade in wildlife, we are celebrating Angola's leadership and we are celebrating the Minister of Environment's initiatives to stop the illegal trade in wildlife but this is just one part of the sustainable development journey."

Angola is both a source and a transit country for ivory.

A new UNEP-Interpol report found that transnational criminal networks are making $USD 258 billion from environmental crimes across the board.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’06”


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