Wildlife trafficker arrested at the Busia border

By Cheky Abuje

Wildlife trafficking has in the recent past become a lucrative business that is attracting every cadre of personality in the society across the globe.
At the Kenya-Uganda border of Busia, a senior police officer from Uganda was arrested by the police while in possession of ivory ready for smuggling into Kenya for sale. The animal trophy is worth Kshs. 3million.
Kennedy Wabwire, was arrested on Friday at around 2.00 pm through a tip off from members of the public after crossing into the Kenyan border with the consignment.
Speaking to the Africa Science News, the Busia DCIO Benard Wamalwa said they got a wind of information that some Ugandan nationals were on a mission to traffic ivory into Kenya with the aim of selling.
Wamalwa said with the information, a trap was laid for the suspects who were lured to bring their ware into a Mosque in Busia town.
“The suspects arrived in two motorbikes and we managed to arrest one as the other one fled,” he said, adding that the arrested suspect is a lieutenant working in the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UBDF) in Uganda.
He stated that the suspect has been taken to court and will be charged with being in possession of wildlife trophies contrary to Section 95 of the Wildlife Conservation Management Act of 2013.
Efforts are still underway to arrest the other culprits who escaped on another motorcycle with a sack of ivory,” he said, adding that the suspect disclosed that they took advantage of porous Busia border to get into trap location (Mosque).
The officer further said that the boda boda rider who was carrying the suspects has also been arrested and has recorded statements with the police as a witness.
Wamalwa urged the local residents to report suspected people dealing in any illegal activity, saying trade in ivory was affecting both Kenya and Uganda negatively through loss of revenue that could be earned from tourism.
“If we fail to report such cases, we will not only lose elephants but also other animals,” he said, adding that security officers cannot succeed without collaboration with the local residents.
Wildlife officers allege that the porosity of the Kenya-Uganda border is a predisposing factor for illicit wildlife trafficking and that there is need for the two sister countries to address border issues aiding smuggling of Wildlife products.
The arrest of a Ugandan Senior Security officer comes in the wake of booming Ivory smuggling business on East African borders. In January 2020, a consignment of Ivory was intercepted at the Busia border involving Ugandan locals.
Wamalwa expressed concern that incidences of ivory were becoming rampant at the border, calling on EAC states to intervene to protect our flora and fauna.