Police impounds ivory and hippo teeth worth shs 12m
BY DENIS OTIM
The Police in Oyam District on Friday arrested a man for keeping 53 kilograms of Hippo Teeth and 30 kilograms of ivory, valued at12.8 million shillings in the black market.
Sadique Ocilo, 30, a resident of Onea B Village in Kamdini Sub County, Oyam district, was arrested with the help of Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN).
Police believes that the suspect acquired the animal products by poaching in Murchison Falls National Park.
The acting Gulu District Police Commander, ASP John Bosco Nyangkol, says the suspect has been transferred to Central Police Station in Kampala, after a brief detention at Gulu Central Police station, awaiting trial at the wildlife and utilities court.
Police records show that the suspect was in 2014 nabbed in the same area, with two AK47 rifles. He was jailed for two years and six months in Isimba prison, Masindi district and released in September 2016.
Nyangkol says if found guilty, the suspect will be charged with unlawful possession of a protected species, contrary to Sections 30 and 75 (b) of the Uganda Wildlife Act CAP 200.
Under Uganda’s Wildlife Act, any person found guilty of illegal possession of protected animal species, faces three years in jail or pays a one million shillings fine, or both.
Nyangkol urges members of the community to respect and protect wildlife in the community for their roles in the protection of the environment.
Uganda remains a key transit country for illegal ivory trade, estimated to be worth $600 million annually. Higher demand for ivory, particularly in Asia, has made its trafficking lucrative.
Wildlife officials estimate that the number of elephants in Uganda has declined to about 5,600 from 1.3 million three decades ago, mainly due to poaching for ivory, game meat and insecurity.
Last year, the Uganda Wildlife Authority [UWA] executive Director Dr Andrew Seguya attributed the growing illegal ivory trafficking into the country to weak security at various Uganda’s border points.