Kampala, Uganda| AFP | THE INDEPENDENT | Three suspects are in custody at Kampala Central Police after being found in possession of ivory valued at Shillings 30million.
The Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, identifies the suspects as Agnes Akello Ojok, Derrick Ssejjombwe and Sulaiman Ssegawa.
“The trio was arrested from KK gardens in Bweyogerere, Kira Municipality, Wakiso district after a tip off,” he said. The suspect’s arrest came after the Natural Resources Conservation Network, a local non-governmental organisation received information that there was a group of people selling elephant tusks.
The NGO immediately alerted the Police intelligence unit, which set up a trap for the suspects. According to Onyango, the suspects have been charged with unlawful possession of protected species contrary to Section 36 (1) and 71 (1) (b) of the Uganda Wildlife Act, 2019.
“We want to caution members of the public against dealing in illegal wildlife products. The suspects’ statements are being recorded,” Onyango said. In 2019, Police recorded 768 cases of illegal trade in wildlife species. This was an 18.5 percent increase compared to 648 cases recorded in 2018.
The impounded wildlife exhibits were valued Shillings 19 billion.
“This increase is in the reported cases is a result of heightened foot and motorised patrols by Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA and vigilance at exit points like Entebbe International Airport and other border points by Law Enforcement Agencies who intercept animal and animal products,” Grace Akullo, the Director Criminal Investigations Directorate stated while releasing the report.
At least 513 cases were taken to court resulting in 303 convictions. Thirty-three cases were dismissed; there were three acquittals while 174 were pending investigations.