Maputo — The Mozambican police announced on Tuesday the arrest of a Mozambican citizen in Mandimba district, in the northern province of Niassa, who was attempting to sell considerable quantities of rhinoceros horn to a Chinese buyer.
Yet somehow it was only the Mozambican who was detained, and the Chinese citizen escaped. According to a report in Wednesday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, the police say his current whereabouts are uinknown. The police are also unable to explain the circumstances of his escape.
The Mozambican was in possession of eight rhino horns, weighing about 20 kilos. In Vietnam or China, that quantity of horn could sell for about 1.3 million US dollars.
It is not clear whether the horns came from animals poached in Mozambique or elsewhere in southern Africa.
Last year, the police made three arrests of Vietnamese citizens at the airport in the northern city of Pemba trying to smuggle rhino horn out of the country.
In early January, police at Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam arrested a man named Ha Cha Chinh, who arrived from Maputo, via Doha, carrying six rhino horns weighing 16.5 kilos.
On the same day, another Vietnamese was arrested at Bangkok airport with a further six rhino horns – these ones were somewhat smaller, weighing only 10.6 kilos. He too had come from Mozambique, and was waiting for a flight to the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.