ALI Nyenge, a resident of Iputi ward in Tanzania's northern Ulanga District, woke up as anti-poaching security officers surrounded his home.
He says they accused him of illegal hunting and in front of his 11-year-old son, made him take his clothes off, poured salt water on his body and whipped him with a cane. "I had no choice than to obey their orders," Nyenge told IPS by phone from Ulanga. "I sustained severe injuries.
I could hardly sit down. I begged them for mercy but they kept on hitting me." The 38-year-old farmer, who has publically accused security forces of assault, claims the ordeal caused him severe physical and emotional torture. At one point, Nyenge said his captors forced him to draw a python on his thigh using a razor blade.
"The anti-poaching operation had good intentions, but the reported murders, rapes and brutality are totally unacceptable." Nyenge's story is one of many to emerge as the government investigates an anti-poaching campaign aimed at reducing the illegal ivory trade, but which has also brought allegations that security forces committed rape, murder, torture and extortion of locals..