Foreign Nationals Involved In Funding Illegal Ivory Trade: Report

Police display a poacher arrested with game meat in Lafon. Ugandan Wildlife Security intelligence report cites New Kush and Lotukei area of Budi County as the main base for illegal Ivory trade.[Gurtong | File]

Ugandan Wildlife Security intelligence report cites New Kush and Lotukei area of Budi County in Eastern Equatoria state as the main base for the South Sudan accomplices in the illegal Ivory trade.

A wildlife officer stationed at Kidepo Valley National park in Uganda Mr. John Mangi reports that the illegal Ivory dealers take advantage of the lean security in pastoral communities of South Sudan as a hideout and provide money to their suppliers to fuel illicit poaching of Elephants across Kidepo Valley area.

According to him, despite tracking the curtail base into South Sudan, the Uganda Wildlife authority could not apprehend them due to lack of coordination with their counter parts in Eastern Equatoria state of South Sudan adding that Ugandan authorities are now working hard to ensure they meet to strategize plans to avert the issue with the South Sudanese authorities sooner this year.

He points out that the Congolese illegal Ivory dealers collaborate with some of their counterparts inside Uganda, while those in South Sudan are involved in poaching for the animals and providing the tusks.

The Uganda Wildlife officer’s report cites a total of eight Elephants being killed at Kidepo Valley National Game Park in the last five years by suspects who habitually escape to South Sudan after poaching.

A recent poaching case of the gigantic mammal was recorded on 8th August 2011where five Elephants were killed at Taan in Uganda while the foot prints of the suspects entered South Sudan.

Three other Elephants in the record were killed in 2007 and 2008 all at Kakal in Uganda near the border with South Sudan.

Not denying the involvement of Democratic Republic of Congo nationals in illegal Ivory trade, the Director for Wildlife conservation in Eastern Equatoria state Ministry of Environment, Wildlife Conservation and Tourism, Lt. Col. Reverend Charles Laku says his state was not aware of the illegal trade but only learnt about poaching as a rising concern.

He concurs that the report could be true because the state security intelligence recently arrested one of the renowned elephant poachers responsible for organized poaching and the killings of game rangers and causing a great havoc in conservation work.

Lt. Col. Charles explains that illegal Ivory trade is regionally an organized crime that involves cliques from the country of supply with the middlemen within countries of transit to the exit point.

He cites Ugandans could be the link for the Democratic Republic of Congo nationals in the illicit trade.

He recommends a joint effort by the two sisterly governments of South Sudan and Uganda to hunt down cross boarder criminals to curb such organized illegal trade.

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