By Peti Siyame
Sumbawanga — Within a period of three weeks, police in Katavi Region have arrested four people after being caught red handed in possession of 47 pieces of elephant tusks weighing over 88.1 kilogrammes, valued over 306m/- which is equivalent to 13 poached elephants in two different incidents.
In the first incident that occurred on early hours of December 24, last year, two suspects were nabbed while in possession of 22 pieces of elephant tusks worth 157.5m/- by police who were on routine patrol at Mpanda Township main bus terminal.
According to the Katavi Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr Dhahri Kidavashari, the seized tusks were equivalent to seven poached elephants and weighed 48.3 kilogrammes.
The RPC named those arrested as Justine Baruti (39), a resident of Ivunge- Katumba at Katumba refugee settlement in Mlele District and Boniface Hoza (40) from Kalela Village, Kasulu District in Kigoma Region.
The two were caught when police officers on patrol suspected that Baruti, who was getting ready to board a bus christened Adventure which plies between Mpanda and Kigoma, had something to hide.
Mr Kidavashari told the "Daily News" over the phone today that two more suspects were caught on January 12, this year, at around 8pm in possession of 25 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 42 kilogrammes valued at over 148.5m/-, equivalent to six poached elephants.
The RPC named the duo as Ndaisaba Masoud (35) and Samson Fred (25) both residents of Katumba refugee settlement in Mlele District.
Mr Kidavashari expounded further that the suspects were nabbed by two policemen who were escorting a bus christened AM, with registration number T 740 AQD, which was heading to Mwanza from Mpanda Township.
"The suspects who were in possession of two bags containing the tusks were nabbed when they were getting ready to board the bus at Uruila Village in Mlele District," added the RPC.