Uganda’s security operatives seize a ton of ivory


(Posted 24th January 2014)

When some months ago the theft of a substantial quantity of ivory from the Uganda Wildlife Authority strongroom was reported here, reactions were swift to call for a comprehensive investigation, spurred by President Museveni taking an interest and making reference in his opening address to the Africa Travel Association World Congress which was held at the time in Kampala.

Suspensions of senior staff followed soon afterwards, eventually also extending to UWA’s Executive Director Dr. Andrew Seguya, who had actually blown the whistle when discrepancies between actual stock and stock on the books was brought to his attention at the time.

(Picture courtesy of the Uganda Conservation Foundation Facebook page)

It is with some satisfaction therefore that it can be reported today that a combined security operation in Entebbe by police, UWA intelligence personnel and other state agencies managed to seize nearly a ton of the stolen ivory, besides a staggering two tons of pangolin scales, all destined to be smuggled out of the country.

Poaching in Uganda, while compared to some neighbouring countries at the very low end of the scale, is often still of a subsistence nature though the trade in bushmeat has increased over the past years. With poaching itself therefore a lessor problem has Uganda however become a transit country for blood ivory from war torn South Sudan and the lawless parts of Eastern Congo where militias control large swathes of land and are said to be the key perpetrators in poaching elephant to finance their operations and purchase of arms, ammunition and other supplies.

Congrats to the UWA staff and other security agencies for their success in this operation.

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