Crime

Makerere student arrested over illegal possession of 31 monkeys, 7 big snakes

Kampala, (UG):- A Makerere University student has been arrested for being in illegal possession of 38 wildlife species, including 31 monkeys and 7 vipers, police spokesperson SCP Fred Enanga said on Monday.

Mr Enanga who was yesterday addressing the media at police headquarters in Naguru, identified the student as Lubega Frederick, 24, who was arrested alongside Ankunda Isborn, a 28-year-old wildlife trafficker after they were found with the species at Kikorongo fisheries checkpoint.

“The Territorial Police in Rwenzori East and Katwe Kabatoro CPS, have in custody, Lubega Frederick alias Rick, a 24-year-old Makerere University Student and Ankunda Isborn, a 28-year-old, suspected Wildlife trafficker of Ndejje Ward, Makindye Division, for the illegal possession of 22 black and white colobus monkeys (15 alive, 7 dead), 9 purely black monkeys) (4 alive, 5 dead), 7 Gabon Vipers (4 dead, 3 alive),” Mr Enanga stated.

“The wildlife species were intercepted while packed in 15 boxes, in a white and green super custom, under registration number UBA 617A, on 9th June 2024 at around 9:45 pm, at Kikorongo fisheries checkpoint. They were being transported to the DRC, where they are exported from to Europe and Asia, for monetary purposes,” he added.

Mr Enanga condemned the illicit movement of wildlife species and the 31 monkeys and 7 Gabon vipers recovered were handed over to UWA officers to set free the live ones to their natural habitats and dispose of the dead.

“We strongly condemn the illicit movement of wildlife species, due to its negative impact of financing organized crime gangs, biodiversity loss, public health concerns and violation of our laws. As the Police, we reaffirm our commitment to work with our partners of UWA, border committees, customs officials, LCs, NGOs and the private sector, in fighting the illegal trade in wildlife, to ensure fear for the crimes and also promote a safer environment for wildlife.”

According to Mr Enanga, the arrest of Ankunda Isborn, a suspected trafficker, and his colleague, will serve as a deterrent and help widen public awareness, that poaching and illegal trade of species are punishable crimes.

Upon conviction, the offence of unlawful possession of wildlife species carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

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