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Ugandan police officers charged over illegal possession of ivory

Ivory
Ivory

A court in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Tuesday charged two police officers over illegal possession of elephant tusks, weighing 23 kilograms.

Boniface Okello and Martin Ocen appeared before a Special Utilities Court at Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Court for being in possession of protected species under the Uganda Wildlife Act 2019.

Charles Twiine, police spokesperson for the criminal investigations directorate, told Xinhua by telephone that the offence attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment upon conviction.

“Every police officer that commits an offence is individually liable. They risk life imprisonment on conviction,” said Twiine.”We shall produce sufficient evidence to ensure that these culprits are successfully prosecuted and convicted,” he said.

Most of the ivory in Uganda is smuggled from neighboring countries such as Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Uganda is mainly used as a transit point for smugglers of wildlife products as the offenders take advantage of porous borders.