Police are 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 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 Asia, with about 80 kilogrammes’ of partially processed Ivory,” CSP Nkuranga said.
Preliminary investigations indicate that the elephant tusks had been smuggled from Tanzania, although the suspects claim that they got them from the DR Congo, he said.
“Investigations are still underway to ensure that all those that could be connected to this criminal business, are arrested to face the law. Rwanda can’t be a transit or destination for illegal trade or safe haven for criminals.”
In March, Rwandan courts sentenced three Guineans and a Rwandan to six years in jail after they pleaded guilty to trafficking about 88kgs of ivory.
The Eastern Africa region is currently faced with a wave of ivory smuggling, but CSP Nkuranga said that Rwanda Police remains awake against poaching and cross-border crimes in general.
In March, about 4,000kgs of ivory were seized in Uganda.
“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,” CSP Nkuranga noted.