Uganda: Police Officers Pose As Buyers to Trap Ivory Dealers


Betty Ndagire, The Monitor

Date Published

Kampala — A police officer has told Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court that they disguised as ivory buyers to arrest two UPDF officers and four civilians charged over illegal possession of 12 pieces of elephant tusks.

Mr Francis Taka, a detective inspector of police with the Police Flying Squad, in his testimony before magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu, yesterday said on March 26, he led a team of police officers and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) staff to Hotel Africana to arrest the suspects.

The suspects include Cpl Collins Kamugisha of the Special Forces Command (SFC) and Maj Allan Rutagira, of Mbuya barracks.

“Two members on my team, who were police informers, disguised as buyers and entered the Hotel Africana premises. They moved close to a red Audi car where Cpl Kamugisha and Maj Rutagira showed the items,” Mr Taka said.


He said upon the assumed buyers being shown the ivory, they alerted the other police officers on the team who quickly arrested the two soldiers with the ivory. However, the third suspect, who was with the duo, fled.

Other suspects who were arrested later in connection with this offence are Mr Simon Mbonye, 53, a miner; Mr Able Bamonjobora, a State House driver, Mr George Otika, an accountant at Entebbe Handling Services, and Mr Alex Sande, 45, a businessman.

They were charged with unlawful possession of protected species, accepting transfer of protected species, and conspiracy to commit an offence of being in possession of protected species.

The elephant tusks were also presented before court as an exhibit.