Maputo — The Mozambican police on Monday incinerated large amounts of illicit wildlife products seized between August and December in Maputo port and at Maputo International Airport.
According to Maputo city police spokesperson Orlando Mudumane, 106.3 kilos of ivory, 16.2 kilos of rhinoceros horn, and 2.6 kilos of lion claws were incinerated.
On the same bonfire the police burnt a small quantity of illicit drugs, including 4.9 kilos of cannabis.
Strangely enough the police also destroyed 150 boxes of the aromatic resin myrrh, each containing ten kilos. Mudumane claimed it was used in the production of various kinds of drugs and is hazardous to human health. In fact, myrrh has a long history of use in incense, as an embalming substance, as a flavouring agent and as an anaesthetic and antiseptic. There is no evidence that it is a dangerous or addictive drug.
Mudumane said that 11 Mozambicans and six foreigners (three Somalis, two Ethiopians and a Vietnamese) have been detained in connection with the products now incinerated. The Vietnamese had been arrested for attempting to smuggle ivory out of the country. He gave no details of the involvement of the other detainees.
The incineration took place in the Maputo neighbourhood of Chiango, under heavy police guard, and witnessed by members of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
This is the second incineration of wildlife products in Maputo. In July, the Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, lit the bonfire which consumed 618 elephant tusks (weighing 2.2 tonnes) and 86 rhino horns.