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Zimbabwe Police Arrest Man Attempting to Smuggle Ivory

Officials display some of more than 1,600 pieces of illegal ivory found hidden inside bags of sesame seeds in freight traveling from Uganda. (File Photo/AP)
Zimbabwe’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management says an Asian man was on Monday arrested at Harare International Airport for illegal possession of raw and processed ivory.

Media reports say the 34-year-old man was found with 17 raw pieces of ivory and several ivory products which included bangles, chop sticks and beads valued at more than $28,000.

The wildlife authority’s Public Relations Manager, Caroline Washaya-Moyo, is quoted as saying the arrest was done in by law enforcement agencies at the airport, who are working tirelessly to curb the smuggling of wildlife products.

A few days ago, South African police intercepted a luxury cross-border bus carrying four elephant tusks worth $1,6 million.

They arrested two Citiliner Bus Company drivers - James Nyirenda and Langton Saka - for allegedly smuggling the tusks through the Beitbridge border post.

More than 100 elephants were recently poisoned to death with cyanide in Hwange National Park, leading to the arrest of at least seven men said to be linked with an Asian ivory smuggling syndicate.

Some of the suspects have already been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison each.

Illegal ivory traders are believed to be targeting the lucrative Asian markets where elephant tusks fetch high prices. They are used mostly for producing aphrodisiacs.