By RONALD MUSOKE The Independent
May 29th, 2022: The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) canine unit has arrested a Yemeni national with 26 pieces of rhino horns weighing 15 kilogrammes.
The suspect identified as Al-Maamari Maged Mutahar Ali was arrested at 3.10am on May 29 during a regular luggage check by the national conservation’s canine unit that is permanently stationed at Entebbe International Airport.
In a statement issued to The Independent, UWA said its dogs found the Rhino horns concealed in food items to disguise their identity. The suspect has been handed over to the Aviation Police for further management of the case.
“We urge the public to desist from engagement in wildlife crimes,” UWA said. This is the second high profile wildlife trafficking case to be registered in the country over the last six weeks.
Last month, on April 14, a Congolese national identified as Bob Mbaya Kabango was arrested during a joint operation conducted by UWA, the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) and Police at Kibaya village, Bunagana town council in Kisoro District in southwestern Uganda.
Kabango was found with two cages containing 122 African Grey Parrots. On May 12, he appeared before Uganda’s Standards, Utilities and Wildlife Court and sentenced to seven years in jail for each of the two counts of importing wildlife species into Uganda without a valid licence and unlawful possession of protected wildlife species contrary to Uganda’s conservation laws. Kabango pleaded guilty to the offences and he is serving both sentences concurrently.
UWA welcomed the court sentence saying the punishment would serve as a warning to others in the business of wildlife trafficking and those who intend to get involved in this business that Uganda cannot be used as either a transit route or a destination for trafficked wildlife species.
“UWA will continue to make Uganda a dangerous place for anyone involved in wildlife trafficking,” the wildlife conservation agency said in a statement.