By SMN Reporter
KAMPALA- SHIFTMEDIA- A retired Italian Diplomat is behind bars after he was found in possession of 5 kilograms of Ivory.
Diego Marino Enrico was picked by a team of detectives at his Panda Pier residence in Nakawa, a Kampala suburb.
The Envoy’s arrest came a day after his Ugandan wife was detained at Bugolobi police station together with Panda–Pier village LC I chairperson, Joseph Tomusange.
Chairperson arrested too
Tomusange was caught with 2.5Kgs of worked ivory pieces.
The ex-envoy was lured into the trap by officers from the Natural Resources Conservation Network (NRCN) working closely with detectives from police who presented themselves as buyers of the ivory.
Tomusange led the detectives and NRCN officials to Marino’s home where a search was conducted leading to the recovery of 3.75Kgs of worked ivory pieces.
Over the weekend, an officer from NCRN received a tip-off indicating that there was someone with some ivory pieces for sale.
On Sunday, the officers of the NRCN, with police met their informer, who showed them the ivory in a hidden sack. The items were confirmed as genuine ivory pieces that led to the arrest of Tomusange.
The chairperson later led the detectives to Marino’s residence where a stand-off ensued between the detectives and his caretakers.
One of the detectives was bitten in the arm by a guard dog in the ensuing struggle.
Marino told police that he was the rightful owner of the ivory, saying he bought them several years ago from an unidentified hawker.
“I don’t sell ivory. I have been here for over 10 years. I bought these things from a hawker here in Kampala”, Marino told detectives in Bugolobi.
James Mutaire, the officer-in-charge of investigations confirmed the suspect’s arrest.
Marino faces charges ranging from unlawful possession of specimen of protected wildlife contrary to Section 36 (1), and Section 71(1)(B) of Uganda Wildlife Act and Unlawful Transfer of Specimen of Protected Species contrary to Section 36(1) and Section 71 (1)(B) of the Uganda Wildlife Act.”
Uganda Wildlife Authority experts noted that at least two elephants died to obtain the specimens, as well as a hippopotamus where the piece incisor tooth was obtained.
UWA spokesperson, Bashir Hangi told URN that they welcome the efforts of sister agencies to stamp wildlife traffickers. He said those trading in protected species need to be locked up irrespective of their species because Ugandan laws are clear. (Source- URN)