Four Arrested With 61.5kgs Of Ivory In Kitgum.

Police in Kitgum District over the weekend arrested Four People while in possession of Ivory (61.5kgs) worth 400,000 to 500,000 shillings per kilogram.

Lodung John 33 years, Okongo David, Okwelle David, Alingangimoe Simon Peter 31 years all Ugandan citizens from Akilok Kitgum District were arrested by the Police flying squad with help from Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN).

They were arrested during a transaction in Akilok Village in Kitgum district.

According to the leader of the racket, Okong David aka Ojara, they picked the contraband from Kidepo valley national park. The suspects were transferred to Kampala Central Police station where they are being interrogated.

According to the Ag. OC Station Kitgum CPS, Poaching is not one of the rampant crimes in the region but rather an isolated case.

He also appealed to the residents to stop the act of poaching or dealing in wildlife products.

Meanwhile the Natural Resource Conservation Network Legal Advisor Alex Adupa said that the four will be charged with unlawful possession of a protected species contrary to Sections 30 and 75 (b) of the Uganda Wildlife Act, CAP 200 provides for the offence of unlawful possession of protected species and 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.

2. Conspiracy to commit a felony will also be preferred against them. Section 390 of the Penal Code Act provides for the offense of Conspiracy to commit a felony. The punishment is imprisonment for not more than 7 years.

Some 30,000 African elephants are illegally killed each year for their ivory tusks, mainly to satisfy demand in the Asian market for products coveted as a traditional medicine or as status symbols.

Uganda is a key transit country for the illegal trade, especially from Congo's huge forests.

The trade is estimated to be worth $600 million annually.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the African elephant population recorded its biggest drop in a quarter century last year, with an estimated population of 415,000 elephants, 111,000 less than a decade ago.

By Layoo Ronnie.Kitgum.

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