The mobile brigade of the customs office in the Burkinabe town of Banfora located 400km from Ouagadougou has impounded several elephant tusks from smugglers, weighing about 70 kilograms, a source confirmed on Friday.
The source said the illicit products were displayed in front of journalists at a press conference convened on Thursday by Mikailou Diarra, the regional director of the customs office in Bobo-Dioulasso.
The tusks weighing exactly 69.628 kg and made up of 16 pairs were discovered in a car travelling from Niger to Ivory Coast.
Customs official, Diarra said that the swoop on the suspects was made following a tipoff to the Banfora mobile brigade.
The driver of the car when questioned claimed he was carrying a packageâ delivered to him from the city of Fada N’Gourma in eastern Burkina Faso, during a stopover there.
He added that the package was intended for someone living in Cote d’Ivoire.
Clearly surprised after the customs officials uncovered the contraband items, the driver claimed he did not check the contents of the bags.
According to the source, the driver had said he was just told the bags contained statuettes.
In Burkina Faso and several other countries in the region, elephants are a protected species.
The use of ivory in the manufacture of furniture and other valuable jewels mainly in Asia whets the hunger of smugglers who do not hesitate to slaughter the endangered species for their tusks.