Kampala, Uganda | URN | Six policemen and four Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers have arrested by Special Wildlife Crime Unit for allegedly participating in poaching and illegal selling of ivory and other wildlife species.
The unit comprised of military and police intelligence personnel as well as detectives attached to Criminal Investigations Directorate- CID’s general crimes desk, have been conducting operations targeting poachers since August last year.
So far, the joint team has arrested 10 security personnel who have since been charged in military court and at Buganda Road court. The joint security operations have majorly been carried out in areas of Murchison Falls National Park, Kampala and Wakiso districts.
CID Spokesperson, Charles Twine, said four police officers identified as Boniface Okello, Martin Ochen, Shaban Emanu and Levi Eliu were arrested a fortnight ago. They were found selling ivory valued at more than 200 million shillings and their arrest followed an intelligence tip.
Twine explains that Okello and Ochen are attached to Field Force Unit –FFU of Kawempe and general police duties in Kapelebyongo district.
“These four police officers have been charged in Utilities Court at Buganda Road and they have since been remanded. It is very bad that policemen who are supposed to uphold the law are the ones breaking it,” Twine said.
Other policemen arrested over wildlife poaching include Andrew Opio and Cpl Richard Iramo. The duo was attached to Jinja Road policing division. The policemen cases were investigated under crime references GEF 3666/2020, CRB 139/2021 and CRB 27/2021.
The UPDF soldiers arrested include Peter Ongom, Odongo Yako, Okor Ochuli, Odongo Achado and William Olugu. These were using army gun registration number UG UPDF 56-56033546 to kill animals in Murchison in Nwoya district.
The security team cracking down poachers in Nwoya is under the command of Col Charles Kyagungu while CID’s general crimes commander, Topher Gimei, provides detectives who conduct investigations and draft the offences.