Reading Time: 2 minutes Anti-poacher operative Tango was set on fire, and left in a critical condition.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The public has raised $50,298 to pay for medical treatment for undercover investigator Tango 5 following an assassination attempt on his life.

Tango 5 – Tango for short – is an undercover investigator working against the poaching of rhinos and elephants by Africa’s organized crime syndicates.

Tango 5 is his call sign: it’s currently too dangerous to disclose his name. 

Assassination attempt

In May this year, Tango was driving home from a successful operation with the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) and Zimbabwean agencies, which saw the arrest of two suspects involved with rhino poaching.

Two assailants allegedly forced Tango off the road, assaulted him and covered him – and his car – in petrol, before setting it alight

As fire engulfed the car and the windows began to explode, remarkably, Tango managed to get one hand free and escape the burning car. 

Tango’s car following the attempted assassination

Tango had suffered serious burns to his face, neck, arms, chest, and stomach and was attempting to wave vehicles past for help. 

Eventually, a passerby stopped and took him to Beitbridge hospital, a remote border town in southern Zimbabwe.

Here, he was given primary care. And, staff were able to keep him alive overnight. The next morning he was flown to a private hospital where a medical team were on standby.

Nearing the fundraising target

Tango has been receiving treatment at this hospital since he arrived nearly eight weeks ago. The ongoing costs and compensation has been funded by the IAPF with the help of generous donors. 

Plant Based News set up a Go Fund Me page on behalf of the IAPF on May 21, 2021.

Since then, the public has raised $50,298 – nearly 60 percent of the target to cover medical bills.

This includes his air evacuation to the private hospital and the secure ‘high dependency ward of intensive care’ where he has been since he arrived. Moreover, it includes a specialist medical team including a burns specialist and trauma counseling.

It will also cover the costs of legal bills as the IAPF supports the authorities in their investigations. Additionally, this stretches to a replacement of the vehicle lost in the fire and retaining Tango in another role with IAPF.

Tango’s recovery

“The pain has been immense but he is remaining strong”

International Anti-Poaching Foundation

While Tango remains in the High Dependency Unit of Intensive Care, he is conscious and responsive. His condition is now stable.

In a statement to PBN, IAPT provided the following update:

“Tango 5 sends his gratitude to all the followers that have supported his recovery to date after six weeks in intensive care. 

“Due to skin grafts late last month, infection set in and therefore [medical treatment] unable to take place as scheduled. The medical team eventually stabilized the situation. And, a number of skin grafts have been performed, removing skin from Tango’s legs for the operation.

“The pain has been immense but he is remaining strong

“Eighty-five percent of the grafting has been successful and we hope that soon he will be released from the ICU.

“Thank you again to everyone for the outpouring of support. We could not have rallied so strongly without you.”

The Go Fund Me page is still active. To help reach the target, visit the page and donate here

You can also find out more about the IAPF here

Jenny Bozon

Jennifer is the Managing Editor at Plant Based News. Previously Sports Editor at Red Bull and the former Editor of Women’s Running magazine, Jennifer has been writing about health, fitness, and nutrition for more than six years.