Crime & Investigation

Zombo : 3 Arrested in Ivory Trafficking

By Julius Odeke

Police in Zombo are holding three men suspected to be members dealing in illegal wildlife trade in West Nile sub region.

The Deputy CID police officer Zombo district Christopher Kerunga said the suspects were arrested with evidence of ivory of three kilograms worth Shs930, sick 000 and that they are being kept in police custody in Zombo Police Central Station.

Kerunga says the arrest was done on Thursday with the help of officials from Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN) after a tip-off from informers and that they had demanded a deposit of at least Shs930, help 000 so that they could ascertain whether the people who had showed up were potential buyers.

Police identified the suspects as Iddi Onenchan, information pills 46, Paul Innocent Okur, 34 and Rashid Gawera, 30 and they were arrested from Paidah Trading Centre, all residents in Paidah Sub County in Zombo.

According to police officials the suspects have been involved in illegal wildlife business for long and that the suspects have been evading police arrests by hiding in Democratic Republic of Congo’s border for temporal safety.

Kerunga says initial investigations have found out that the suspects were looking for a potential buyer of the three kilograms of ivory and were promising to sign a business deal with anyone willing to purchase ivory in bulk.

He added that the trio has been charged with illegal possession of trophies under the SD 49/31/8/16 and will appear before court Zombo.


In a telephone interview with Jossy Muhangi the spokesman for Uganda Wildlife Authority, he explains that in the Uganda Wildlife Act Section 30 and 75 (b), “A suspect will be charged with utilization of wildlife without wildlife use right.”

Elephants and rhinoceroses often serve as the poster animals for the illegal trade in wildlife and they are killed for the ivory in its tusks, the rhino for its horn.

Traditionally, poaching is the illegal hunting and killing or capturing of wild animals in violation of the laws of the country. It is different from hunting as hunting refers to harvesting of wildlife within the law. While wildlife trafficking is the illegal trade in wildlife (dead or alive) and wildlife products.

Mr Vincent Opyene the head of Natural Resource Conservation Network says his organization will work closely with police in a bid to expose and shame illegal wildlife traffickers and also to ensure that poaching activity in the country comes to an end.

Opyene urges the locals to corporate with NRCN and police officials by reporting them to the relevant authorities so as to curb the activities done by poachers and illegal traffickers in the region.


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