Sunday January 25 2015

Shs1b ivory seized at Entebbe airport

By Sandra Janet Birungi

Kampala-The Police at Entebbe International Airport have intercepted Ivory worth Shs1 billion as it was being smuggled out of the country.

According to Lodovick Awita, the aviation police commandant, the ivory weighing 791kgs was on Friday seized together with pangolin scales worth Shs2 billion and weighing about 2,029kgs.

“The items totalling seven boxes was intercepted on Wednesday at 10pm aboard a flight to the Netherlands.
We suspected ivory and upon opening one box, we discovered it had both ivory and the pangolin scales,” Mr Awita told journalists.

There were five boxes of pangolin scales and two boxes of ivory. Mr Awita said three suspects had been arrested and the police recovered from them several materials used in the smuggling of ivory and pangolin scales.

Following rampant smuggling of ivory and pangolin scales, elephants and pangolins have been declared “endangered species” not only in Uganda but worldwide.

Origin of ivory
While addressing journalists at Entebbe on Friday, Mr Haruna Kulu Kirya, the warden for law enforcement at Uganda Wildlife Authority, said they had not readily established whether the intercepted ivory and pangolin scales were from Uganda or another country.

“We are working closely with the aviation police to find out where these items originated from. As the wildlife authority, we are working to ensure endangered species are protected,” Kirya said.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

advertisement