One and a half tons of ivory seized in Lubumbashi

A shipment of one and a half tons of smuggled ivory was seized last weekend and three suspected traffickers arrested in Lubumbashi, in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a judicial source said Thursday.
The origin and destination of the ivory are not known, an investigation is underway.
“On Saturday, our services seized some 1,500 kg of ivory,” said this judicial source, who did not wish to be identified. “Five people who were transporting the ivory in long trucks were arrested but two fled after questioning,” the source added.
According to the source, “the three Congolese arrested say they were simple transporters, who do not know the origin or final destination of the packages and claim that those who fled are the owners.
Mr. Sabin Mande, a lawyer for the “Natural Resources Network”, a platform of Congolese environmental NGOs, said he had seen on Wednesday at the public prosecutor’s office in Lubumbashi, the capital of Haut-Katanga, “18 bags full of ivory weighing a total of more than 1,500 kg”. According to him, this represents the slaughter of “80 to 100 elephants”. “This is criminal,” he commented.
This is one of the largest ivory seizures made on the African continent.
Seizures of two to four tons have been made in Kenya and Togo in the last ten years. The largest recent seizure in the world was made in Vietnam, with nine tons discovered in March 2019 on a ship from Congo.

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