Ugandan authorities seized a ton of illegal ivory and arrested three West Africans they believe were plotting to ship it abroad, an official said Saturday.
The seizure happened late Friday at an “opulent, expansive house” in a suburb of the capital, Kampala, where law enforcement officials had been monitoring the West Africans for several weeks, said Gessa Simplicious, a spokesman for the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
A Liberian and two Guinea-Bissau nationals were arrested for possessing the ivory. It likely had been imported from neighboring countries such as Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo because it had markings not familiar to Ugandan authorities.
“We are happy because Uganda will not be used anymore as a transit point” for smugglers of wildlife products, he said. Smugglers take advantage of porous borders in Africa’s Great Lakes region to move illegal wildlife products around, Simplicious said.
Uganda has about 5,600 elephants still left in the wild.