The suspects paraded before the media on Wednesday 27th October 2021 include a Congolese national, who sneaked the elephant tusks into Rwanda from Bukavu town in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He was arrested in Rusizi district.
The quartet include Desire Murokozi, Derrick Gisa, Cyriaqué Kaburaburyo from Burundi and Nicodem Bagabo from DRC.
The four men sneaked the elephant tusks using a vehicle belonging to an official working with the power utility company of the Great Lakes Region known for its French alias as Société Internationale d’Electricité des pays des Grands Lacs (SINELAC).
It is said that they wanted to use Rwanda as a transit from where they would send elephant tusks to foreign countries.
Three of them have accused the official working with the company to have dragged them into the case. The official has however refuted the allegations explaining that he gave them a lift without checking their luggage.
RIB Spokesperson, Dr. Thierry B. Murangira has said that the suspects planned to traffic the tusks to Asia through Rwanda.
“The four suspects were arrested at different times. They face charges including attempt to traffic 45kgs of elephant tusks through Rwanda. The tusks were seized in a vehicle belonging to an official working with SINELAC. The elephant tusks are not poached or sold in Rwanda but rather the country is used as a transit for such trade,” he said.
Dr. Murangira assured that the foiled trafficking is a testament that Rwanda has no place for peddlers.
If convicted, suspects are liable to a sentence between five and seven years behind bars and a fine between Rwf5 to Rwf7 million as per Rwanda’s Penal Code.
The suspects are detained at Kicukiro RIB Post awaiting their files to be transferred to the Prosecution.