Uganda: Police Seize Tonnes of Ivory


By Joseph Kiggundu, The Monitor

Date Published

Aviation police yesterday seized 48 boxes of ivory, which had already eluded Entebbe Airport security en route to Singapore.

By press time, the worth of the seized ivory, which was aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight, was not readily available since police were yet to weigh them.

A kilogramme of ivory on the black market costs $2,500 (about Shs8 million) while a single processed bangle costs $500 (Shs1.6 million).

The boxes were registered to a Ugandan national who is still on the run although another unnamed suspect has been arrested over alleged connivance.

Aviation Police commandant Lodovick Awita said the markings on the elephant tusks recovered indicate that they were from outside Uganda but they will have to go through a forensic analysis to determine the country of origin.

In the last one year the, police have seized three consignments of ivory believed to be from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“This is the fourth time this year when we are capturing boxes of ivory at the airport and my officers will continue to arrest more culprits because they know what they are doing. We are also working with UWA investigative unit to arrest all those people who are dealing in ivory,” Mr Awita said

Uganda is being used as a transit for these illegal commodities due to the porous nature of borders and the lack of technology to scan for ivory at the border points.

Mr Awita says most of the ivory from the DR Congo is transported by water undetected while the rest are brought disguised as food stuff.

UWA law enforcement coordinator Margaret Kasumba said the wildlife body, together with Aviation police, URA at Customs and Enhas officers had been deployed to work hand in hand to end all these dirty deals at the airport.

“Most of the time, such deals are done at both the airport and border posts,” she said.