By Eddie Ssejjoba
Police in Kiteezi, Wakiso district are holding four young men after they were nabbed in illegal possession of 15 wildlife birds.
The suspects were transporting marabou stork, locally known as Kalooli to an unknown place.
Police say some of the birds had been stuffed in polythene sacks and according to local sources, the practice has been going on for some time.
However, apart from seeing the crafty men stuffing and loading away the birds, which they illegally collect from Kampala Capital City Authority garbage dumping ground the residents did not know the intention and the purpose.
According to a statement released by deputy Police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire on Friday, June 2, 2023, the arrest of the young men from Lusanja zone, Kiteezi parish in Kasangati town council followed information provided by local leaders who raised concerns about the wildlife birds.
He identified the suspects as Herbert Masika, Dick Mwinguzi, Dickson Kato and Peter Tumukunde.
The birds, according to Owoyesigyire, were successfully recovered as exhibits and are still in Police custody, awaiting further management by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), an organisation responsible for the protection and conservation of wildlife.
“All four suspects involved in the unlawful possession of the wild species have been arrested and duly charged in accordance with the law. Their prosecution will proceed accordingly,” the statement further reads.
He explained that UWA expertise and assistance would be crucial in ensuring the appropriate management and care of the recovered exhibits.
Police were also following up on hints that there was an accomplice identified as Innocent Banaras, who is believed to be the ringleader in the case and still at large.
“However, at present, Banaras remains at large, but the relevant authorities are actively pursuing his apprehension,” Owoyesigyire said.
The investigators in the case were also following up on information suggesting that these captured birds were intended for sale to Congolese nationals living in Uganda, who the Police plan to arrest.
“The investigation into this matter is ongoing, and additional information will be provided as the UWA assumes control of the case”.
“We condemn this illegal activity and reaffirm our commitment to the protection and conservation of wildlife in Uganda,” the statement reads.
Owoyesigyire commended what he termed as the collaborative efforts of the local leaders, the area Police and UWA in addressing the issue promptly.
He urged the public to remain vigilant and report to authorities any suspicious activities related to the unlawful possession or trade of wildlife.