Police in Abim district, northern Uganda, are holding three men who were arrested in possession of a live and two skinned (10.1kgs) pangolin said to be worth sh6million.
Felix Orebo, 44 years old and a police officer number CPL40752 attached to Jinja Road Police Station, Logel Bosco 36 years a Para-Legal with Uganda Law Society and Omara Sylvester 45 years old and a Nursing Assistant at Koya Health Center II, all Ugandan citizens from Nyakwai Sub-county Abim District were arrested by the Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN) with help from the Police flying squad.
These were arrested in a fake transaction arranged by NRCN at a Hotel in Abim town. While Omara Sylvester was arrested at Joash Guest House, Orebo Felix and Logel Bosco were arrested at Angelina guesthouse. The suspects came along with 10.1 kilograms of skinned Pangolin and 1 Live Pangolin to the would-be buyers. Upon reaching an agreement, the fake buyer was to pay 6 million Uganda shillings and the money would be divided amongst the 3 suspects each receiving 2 million shillings.
The suspects are currently being interrogated from Abim Police Station. They will be charged with 2 counts; unlawful possession of a protected species under Sections 30 and 75 (b) of the Uganda Wildlife Act CAP 200 and conspiracy to commit a felony under Section 390 of the Penal Code Act.
If convicted for the first count, the punishment is a fine of not less than 1m or not more than 5 years imprisonment and in any case the fine must be not less than the value of the wildlife product involved while the second offence the punishment is imprisonment for not more than 7 years.
According to the O.C Station Abim Police Station Assistant Superintendent of Police Turinawe Dickens, Poaching is one of the rampant crimes in the region. He however notes that the police are trying to fight the crime through community policing.
He also appealed to the residents to stop the act of poaching or dealing in wildlife products.
Meanwhile the Acting. In charge prosecution Kidepo Valley National Game Park CPL Okello Joseph notes that wildlife trafficking is rampant in the region.
According to Okello, UWA has trained personnel and deployed them to help combat the trade.