By Watchdog reporter

Two born again pastors suspected of being animal traffickers were on Monday arrested in Makindye Division in Kampala after police found them in possession of 13 kilograms of ivory, 17 kilograms of pangolin scales and eight pangolin horns.

The three suspects were arrested around in a village around Busabalala Road in Namasuba parish in Makindye Division when police searched their houses and found animal trophies.

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The operation was carried out after a tip-off from concerned persons at the neighbourhood who said they knew that the men of God were dealing in illegal wildlife trade.

According to reliable sources, it indicates that the three suspects were demanding a total sum of Shs70 million for the merchandise from a businessman who is currently on the run.

The suspects, one of which is a Congolese national are pastors who have a Born-Again Pentecostal Church in Nansana Municipality in Wakiso district.

Officials from Natural Resource Conservation Network say the three suspects are suspected to have been carrying out the illegal trafficking business from Kampala and other neighbouring districts and sold animal products to countries such as China, Vietnam and some other Asian countries.

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The Police Criminal Investigations Officer (CID) at Kampala Central Police Station, Chris Ahimbisibwe confirmed the arrest and identified the suspects as; Prince Kazanga, 48, John Kiiza, 34, and Christopher Kato, 50.

Ahimbisibwe says the three suspects are in police custody at CPS and that they will be arraigned before Buganda Road Court on Wednesday to face charges of being in possession of wildlife products which is against the law.

The Uganda Wildlife Act Section 30 and 75 (b), prohibits people from dealing in illegal wildlife trade and anyone found in the illicit trade will be charged with utilization of wildlife without wildlife use right.

Also the Uganda Wildlife Act prescribes a punishment of 12 months imprisonment or a fine of Shs8million for poachers and traffickers.

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