Uganda prosecutes Vietnamese pair over ivory-smuggling

APA-Kampala (Uganda)

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has taken up the prosecution of two Vietnamese nationals who were arrested by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) customs officials in possession of elephant ivory and pangolin scales.

The Vietnamese were arrested last week as they tried to smuggle ivory through the Uganda-South Sudan border post at Elegu.

The ivory and pangolin scales were concealed in timber logs loaded on three trucks.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) says the Vietnamese identified as Dhan Ton Chiew and Nguyen Son Dong will be charged in the Standards Utilities and Wildlife Court for possession and illegally trafficking in wildlife products contrary to the provisions of the Uganda Wildlife Act.

Although the origin of the ivory and pangolin scales is not yet known UWA Executive Director, Sam Mwandha in the statement indicates that the prosecution will offer an opportunity to establish the source of the wildlife products.

He adds that the prosecution also provides an opportunity to show the world that Uganda will not tolerate illegal wildlife product trafficking.

"We have been internationally labelled a conduit for illegal trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products, ruining our reputation on the international stage. We shall use this case to show our resolve to stamp out this illegal trade," Mwandha says.

It is estimated that 325 elephants were killed for the approximately 750 pieces of ivory that were seized from the Vietnamese nationals.


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