By Candia Stephen & Okello Felix
Arua. The police flying squad in Arua have arrested two people over unlawful possession of wildlife trophy at Mukhtar Mosque in Arua Municipality.
Loju Muzamil 44, a resident of Ozua cell, a security guard at the mosque and Swadik Atidra 57 years resident of Arua public cell a businessman, were arrested on Friday at 11:30 am after a tip off by some informers.
The police recovered three pieces of elephant Ivory weighing 35.2 Kilograms, which valuers estimate to cost Shillings 14 million.
The items have been kept at Arua Central Police Station while the two have been charged with unlawful possession of wildlife parts contrary to Section 30 (75) b of the Wildlife Act.
The three elephant tusks that were recovered now at Arua central police station. Photo by Okello Felix
According to the police spokesperson for West Nile Josephine Angucia, the two revealed that the elephant tusks were given to them by some people, whom police is now hunting for before they will be forwarded to court to decide on their fate.
A kilo of Ivory currently sells at Shillings 400,000 per kilogram. Ivory trade has been a lucrative business in the world but many countries have banned the sale.
The Media Officer for Natural Resource Conservation, Joshua Poro, told West Nile Press Online that: “Of recent, the elephant tusks and Pangolin scales are the most trafficked in Uganda. And this endangers the species of the animals. Our people should always seek to protect these animals instead of killing them to get rich yet this is illegal trade.”
Poro said last month alone, the recovered Pangolin scales and elephant tusks of about Shs 80 million, which he said was a huge sum of money.
In Gulu Pangolin scales worth Shs 5 million and in Abim districts Pangolin scales of about Shs 6 million were recovered last month.
A Pangolin-one of the wild life species that are endangered. Internet photo
Last year, the European Union blocked a proposal for a permanent ban on international trade in elephant ivory, but two opposing proposals, which would have allowed ivory to be traded legally on a global scale in the future, were also rejected.
This was at the 17thConference of the Parties (CoP17) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
But the President of the Franz Weber Foundation, Vera Weber, said: “The European Union’s position is shocking. Their patronizing and colonialist attitude to the vast majority of African elephant range states calling for an Appendix I listing is shameful. Even Botswana has come out in favor of an up-listing to Appendix I and still, they do not listen.”