Members of the Botswana Police Service (BPS)’s Narcotics Squad – Flora and Fauna – in Francistown are questioning at least five people arrested over the past two weeks for illegal possession of ivory.
The suspects are believed to be operating an illicit ivory trade in elephant tusks thought to have been sourced from the Maun area.
Talking to The Voice, BPS spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Witness Bosija revealed that two of the suspects were arrested at Francistown’s Galo Mall by plainclothes officers acting on a tipoff.
A third suspect was arrested a week later in the second city’s Monarch location, with the other two nabbed in Maun.
“The five arrested suspects are currently assisting members of the investigating team with the ongoing investigations,” said Bosija, adding that the suspects will appear in court soon, with the charges they face dependent on the police’s ongoing investigations.
“The exact number of the pieces and volume of the elephant tusks is yet to be fully ascertained by the police. Elephant tusks have been sent for analysis to fully quantify them,” continued Bosija.
However, sources within the police force have hinted that the suspected ivory dealers were arrested while in possession of 23 pieces of elephant tusks at Galo Mall. It is said the tusks were packed into a car.
“From the look of things, the suspected illegal ivory dealers were taking the elephant tusks to the buyer,” said the source.
The source added they believe the suspects are poachers who kill the elephants themselves before selling the tusks.