7 January 2013

Tanzania: Two Tanzanian Police Officers Apprehended With Illegal Elephant Tusks

Two police officers were arrested in the Serengeti National Park on Saturday (January 5th) for illegally possessing elephant tusks, Tanzania's The Guardian reported.

Hong Kong seized more than a tonne of ivory worth about $1.4 million on January 3rd in a shipment from Kenya, the city's third big seizure in less than three months. [AFP] Play Video

Mugumu police and game wardens identified the perpetrators as police officers from Biharamulo, according to National Park Director Allan Kijazi. The offending officers then led police to their ivory buyers, who were also arrested.

"Their cell phones show that they were communicating with people in a network of poachers of elephant tusks," Kijazi said. "It is very dangerous when police officers are involved in poaching activities."

Inspector General of Police Said Mwema said that although the act has tarnished the image of police, the force will continue to hold accountable police officers who go contrary to their work ethics.

An estimated 70,000 to 80,000 elephants roam Tanzania's sanctuaries, with about 10,000 killed every year for their tusks, the news agency reported. Much of this illegal ivory is exported to Asia, where ivory from Tanzania has been repeatedly impounded.

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