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UGANDA – Senior Army Officer Arrested with Large Elephant Tusk

Lt. Col. Ariko Robert UPDF, was arrested at his home in Katakwi district, northeast Uganda, close to the Kenyan border.
  • The Natural Resource Conservation Network with support from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Uganda police recently culminated a one month investigation by arresting two persons, one an Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) Lieutenant Colonel.
  • Lt. Col. Ariko Robert, and business partner,  Alcumar Hellen, were arrested in a sting operation while trying to sell a large elephant tusk from their home in north eastern Uganda.
  • The UPDF has a history of direct involvement in the killing and sale of wildlife trophies. In 2012, the UPDF were infamously connected to the incident where they allegedly shot 22 elephants from their helicopters while flying over Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo.  Some of those tusks, identified later through DNA analysis, were later seized in Mombasa in June 2013. 
  • Other UPDF incidents include
    • Lieutenant Kennedy Wabwire arrested inside the Kenyan border with 30 kg of ivory in May 2021.
    • In April 2021, four soldiers were arrested for shooting animals in Murchison Falls National Park.
    • In September 2017, Private Alex Mugenyi, was charged for providing a military rifle to shoot elephants.
    • In March 2016, Major Rutagira and Corporal Kumugisha were charged in relation to trafficking 19 kg of ivory. Corporal Kumugisha was based at Entebbe airport at the time from where a large amount of ivory and rhino horn was leaving the country.
  • Most of these arrests were through the dilligent work the Natural Resource Conservation Network.

Senior Officer Arrested Over Wildlife Trade.

May 27th, 2022: by Sharon Okello Nagenjwa, Communications Officer, Natural Resource Conservation Network
A senior officer in the UPDF, Lt. Col. Ariko Robert, 54 , and his neighbor turned business partner,  Alcumar Hellen, 30, were apprehended while attempting to sell ivory.
Ariko was arrested from his home in Africa village, Aboiboi parish, Getom sub/ty Katakwi district. The suspect is attached to the 43rd Battalion
As recently as a month ago UWA, Ugandan police, and Natural Resource Conservation Network initiated a combined investigation to find the army officer who was allegedly selling wildlife parts.

Alcumar Hellen, 30 weighs the ivory

Hellen, Ariko’s business partner, led the undercover investigators, posing as buyers, to Ariko’s house this morning with a boda boda cyclist as a guide.
Ariko took the “customers” to a Starlet UAG 464 E vehicle parked at his home where the products they wanted to see were being kept. On discovering the ivory in the vehicle’s trunk, Ariko was taken into custody.
Okello Sharon Nagenjwa, the Communications Manager for Natural Resource conservation Network confirmed the report.
The suspects are currently under custody at Soroti CPS.

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