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Arrests after pilot killed by poachers.

FIVE people have been arrested in connection with the killing of Birmingham helicopter pilot Roger Gower, who was shot dead by elephant poachers in Tanzania.

A suspected gunman and accomplices plus members of an ivory and gun smuggling gang are among those arreste. More arrests could follow.

Mr Gower, 37 and originally from Edgbaston, was helping authorities in the African country track the criminals when they fired on his aircraft on January 29.

He managed to bring the helicopter down in the Maswa Game Reserve, near Serengeti National Park in the north of the country, but died from his wounds before he could be rescued.

Tanzania is fighting a bitter struggle to stop ivory poachers. A report last year stated 60 per cent of its elephant population had been lost in the previous five years.

Mr Gower left Hallfield School, in Edgbaston, in 1991 and later studied at Malvern College and trained as an accountant. But after becoming a pilot, he moved to Africa to help track poachers with the Friedkin Conservation Fund.

He qualified as a pilot in 2004 and moved to Africa around two years later, according to a profile with his former employer Tropic Air Kenya.

His brother Max said that his brother had died doing the job he loved.

"Roger was very much his own man," said Max Gower, a corporate lawyer at a London law firm,'' said. "He was strongly principled and always had a very strong moral compass."

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Feb 7, 2016
Words:250
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