Police in Amudat has arrested two people in possession of 49.1kg of ivory reportedly worth sh19.6 million. A Local Government Double Cabin Hilux Pick up No. LG 0084-52 was also impounded, as it was being used to transport the contraband.
Samuel Lokwale, 27, a peasant and Edis Labatir, 32 , a pastor, were arrested in Amudat district, northern Uganda in possession of the ivory. It is against Uganda’s law to deal in the product, which is from a protected species.
Labatir alleged that his Pokot pastor friend from Kenya gave him the ivory to find market and sell in Uganda.
They were arrested during a transaction, in a police operation that included Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN) officers.
The Councilor for Health and Education, Joshua Lokapel reportedly availed the local government car No. LG 0084-52 that was attached to him by the Chief Administrative Officer plus the driver who drove them across the boarder to collect the contraband. During the arrest, the driver managed to escape.
Lokwale and Labatir alleged that both the councilor and his driver who are at large were part of the dubious deal.
The suspects have currently been transferred to Kampala Central Police station where they will be further interrogated before being arraigned before court.
According to the Natural Resource Conservation Network Head of Legal and Prosecution Leonard Massa, the three will be charged with; unlawful possession of a protected species contrary to Sections 30 and 75 (b) of the Uganda Wildlife Act CAP 200
According to the OC Station Amudat CPS C/ASP Steven Niregire they have for a long time heard that people were trading in ivory but never actually arrested anyone. He noted that most of the ivory in Amudat actually came from across the boarder in Kenya.
** NOTE: 1kg is equal to US$720 (current international price per kilo in China, a popular trade hub for Ivory). At 3600 exhange rate, per USD, 49kgs would cost Approx. Ushs 130 million