Tanzania: Refugees Face 20 Yrs Behind Bars for Ivory Smuggling


By Mussa Mwangoka, The Citizen

Date Published
Two Burundian refugees from Katumba refugee camp at Mlele District in Katavi Region; Stephano Jonas, 22, and Franko Hamisi, 18 were sentenced to 20 years in jail for possession of elephants tusks.
Mpanda District Court Resident Odira Amwol said that the prosecution has proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt.
The duo were arrested on May 15 midnight at Mnyaki Village at the Katumba refugee camp following a tip-off that enabled the police and wardens at Katavi National Park to pursue and detain the suspects hiding the tusks under bed in a house belonging to one Jackson Erasto.
The accused said during their defence that the tusks were not theirs but belonged to Jackson Erasto who had commissioned them to send the trophies to Dar es Salaam to a customer named as Alex.
Prosecution had called seven witnesses to support their case while the accused defended themselves.
After the conviction, the first accused Stephano Jonas pleaded for a lenient sentence during mitigation because his mother and three siblings solely depended on him.