Uganda Jails 2 Over Illegal Possession of Ivory

 A court in the Ugandan capital Kampala has jailed two people including a police officer for 12 years over illegal possession of ivory.

Bashir Hangi, spokesperson of Uganda Wildlife Authority, a state-run conservation agency, told Xinhua by telephone on Thursday that the two pleaded guilty for being in possession of two elephant tusks, which weighed about 45 kilogrammes.

They appeared before a Special Utilities Court at Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Court on Wednesday.

“When they appeared in court, they pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced to 12 years in jail or a fine of eight million Uganda shilling (about 2,200 U.S. dollars) each for being in possession of protected species unlawfully,” said Hangi.

“They failed to pay the fine in default and were sent to jail for 12 years each,” he added.

Under the new law, wildlife offenses in east African country, attract a maximum sentence of life imprisonment upon conviction.

Most of the ivory in Uganda is reported to be smuggled from neighbouring countries such as Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Uganda is mainly used as a transit point for smugglers of wildlife products as the offenders take advantage of porous borders.

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