By Our Reporter
Mukono – Two suspected traffickers have been arrested in Wantoni parish in Mukono Municipality after being found in possession of a live pangolin valued at Shs2million.
The OC police station at Mukono Central Police Station Sergeant George Okiror identified the suspects as Lini Claudio, 58 and Denis Obuin, 31, both residents of Wantoni parish.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Okiror said the two men were arrested at Bolts Petroleum Services on Tuesday in an operation jointly done by Natural Resource Conservation Network NRCN, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and police in Wantoni parish along Katosi Road in Mukono district following a tip-off from members of the public.
At the time of their arrest, the suspects were seeking buyers for the pangolin and they wanted the potential buyer to buy it at Shs2 million. It was a young pangolin.
The CID police officer, Sergeant George Okiror says the case was registered under the file number of SD Ref 81/15/11/2016.
“Following a tip off, the suspects were arrested on Tuesday while in possession the baby pangolin. However, residents alleged that the suspects still have more of the pangolins but were only trying see whether the person who wanted to buy it is a serious potential buyer. The two accused will appear in the Mukono Grace One Magistrates Court on Thursday,” Police said.
Officials from UWA says, “Pangolins are a protected species in Uganda and if the accused are found guilty, they will receive a minimum sentence of not more than five years in prison each and a fine of not less than a million shillings.”
According to Uganda Wildlife Act Section 30 and 75 (b), “A suspect will be charged with utilization of wildlife without wildlife use right.” The two will be charged with the illegal capture, translocation, possession and illegal trading in critically endangered animal species.
The pangolin has since been taken to the Uganda Wildlife Authority head offices in Kitante where it’s tentatively in UWA custody but it will be potentially released back into the wild in Murchison national park.