29th October 2020
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320 kilograms of wild animal skins nabbed at Juba Airport

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Saturday, September 26, 2020

Wildlife officers display confiscated animal skins on Thursday. Photo: Buda Ladu/facebook

Authorities at Juba International Airport have confiscated more than 200 pieces of wild animal skins allegedly being smuggled to Europe.

The Minister of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism, Rizik Zachariah Hassan said wildlife security personnel and customs officers at the Juba International Airport intercepted the 320 kilograms of wild animal skins on Thursday.

They were reportedly being transported from South Africa through South Sudan to Europe, according to minister Rizik.

He says South Sudan wildlife security with the help of Interpol managed to trail the shipment from South Africa till it landed in Juba where it was intercepted and the ring leader behind the smuggling arrested.

The wildlife minister says the suspect who has not been identified to the media will be arraigned in court together with his network of colleagues.

“The officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers who are with the wildlife security working at the airport managed to seize these skins because they were in good coordination with Interpol,” Rizik told the press.

“They were aware since the skin was transported to South Sudan, but very unfortunately the skins were cleared from the custom and completed passing shipment at Juba International Airport to move somewhere. So this indicates that there is a big network operating here in South Sudan, and this is a mistake. ”

Rizik added that “we must prevent trafficking wildlife because if we tolerate smuggling of wildlife across South Sudan, then this means that we contribute to it and this will lead to damaging the reputation of South Sudan.”

According to wildlife officers, the document for shipment stated that the animal skins were sold to a man in South Sudan from a South African Company.

In 2017, a report by US-based watchdog Enough Project said South Sudan and Uganda were being used as waypoints for the illegal trafficking of endangered wildlife products including elephant tusks, pangolin scales, hippo teeth, and others.

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