Police in Fort Portal municipality, Kabarole District, with help from Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN) has arrested eight people, including a UPDF officer, over illegal poaching and possession of 20.5 kilogrammes of Elephant tusks worth Shs 8.2m.
Alex Mugenyi, 27, a UPDF soldier attached to 29 brigade, stationed at Kavera under 309 battalion in Hima, Kasese district and resident of Nyabweya village was arrested for reportedly killing elephants in Kibale National Park.
Mugenyi, registered under Service Number RA230159, was arrested alongside seven others: Namara Turyamureba, Morris Mugume, Edward Byamugisha, Michael Byensi, Alex Twinomujuni, Enoch Musinguzi and Edward Balinda.
A week later, Mugenyi narrated, Turyamureba and Twinomujuni acquired an SMG Rifle with three rounds of ammunition from Henry Masiko, a police officer who passed on three weeks ago.
Mugenyi took up the task, got the tusks worth Shs 8.2m but was never paid.
The suspects are currently being held at Kampala Central Police station. They will be arraigned in the Wildlife Court at Buganda Road.
Natural Resource Conservation Network Head of Legal and Prosecution Leonard Massa said the suspects will be charged with unlawful possession of protected species contrary to Sections 30 and 75 (b) of the Uganda Wildlife Act CAP 200.
If convicted the suspects could ordered to pay a fine not less than Shs 1m or be jailed for not more than five years.