Rwanda National Police (RNP) is holding ten people including foreigners, after they were arrested attempting to traffic elephant tusks through Rwanda.
The Deputy Commissioner for Public Relations and Media, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Lynder Nkuranga, said the suspects include six Rwandans and four Guinea-Conakry nationals.
“The suspects were arrested separately as they attempted to use Rwanda as a transit route to their destination in Asian, with about 80 kilograms’ of partially processed Ivory,” CSP Nkuranga said.
Preliminary investigations indicate that the elephant tusks had been smuggled from Tanzania, although suspects claim that they got them from the DR Congo.
Latest reports indicate that most of the smuggled ivory comes from Tanzania, where elephants are said to be endangered due to poaching.
“Investigations are still underway to ensure that all those that could be connected to this criminal business, are arrested to face the wrath of the law. Rwanda can’t be a transit or destination for illegal trade or safe haven for criminals.”
“In line with environmental and wildlife protection, we have a mandate under both local and international legal instruments, to protect the world’s elephant population and wildlife in general; Rwanda National Police is committed to implementing these legal tools and it’s part of the RNP’s international cooperation to fight cross-border crimes,” she noted.
In March this year, Rwandan Courts also sentenced three Guineans and a Rwandan to six years in jail after they pleaded guilty and for trafficking about 88kgs of ivory.
The Eastern Africa region is currently faced with a wave of ivory smuggling, but CSP Nkuranga said that RNP remains awake against poaching and cross-border crimes in general.
In March this year, about 4,000kgs of ivory were seized in Uganda.
Other 105 tons of ivory were also destroyed in Kenya in April this year.