Two police officers who sold a gun to a serial wildlife poacher have been arrested following a raid that nabbed three other suspected poachers in Oyam and Nwoya districts.
Charles Twine, the spokesperson of the Criminal Investigations Directorate said the arrest followed deployment of over 10 CID detectives to curb on rampant poaching in Murchison falls national park.
Twiine says that since the start of COVID poaching had increased but the force, working with UWA are arresting the perpetrators.
“In the same vein, it had been reported that the poachers were in possession of so many illegal guns, that were not only used for poaching but also in terrorizing the people especially travelers along Kampala-Pakwach-Arua Road, and robberies in some homesteads,”, Twiine said in a statement.
“Intelligence reports indicated that the poaching in the Murchison national park was highly organized involving various people that connive to commit the crime and even dealing in illicit trafficking of wildlife species,” he added.
Twiine said during the course of the operation, a one Ongomo Peter, a notorious poacher was arrested and on interrogation, he revealed how he acquired the gun.
Ongom allegedly told investigators that he bought one of the guns from a police officer whom he identified as Andrew Opiyo attached to Jinja Road Police Station, at UGX2 million.
He said Ongomo asserted that he was connected to the Police Officer by his brother in-law called Akona Fred a resident of Naguru Kampala in 2016.
“Following this revelation, PC Opiyo Andrew Steven, attached to Jinja Road Police Station and CPL Emaru Richard, the In Charge armory at Jinja Road were arrested and interrogated accordingly,” Twiine said.
Although they denied the allegations, Twiine said the investigators clearly established that the gun as revealed by the suspect is a Police gun that was signed fraudulently and ended in the hands of criminals.
During the course of the operation, the joint team was also able to identify and profile some people who are in possession of illegal guns and these culprits are vigorously being pursued, Twiine said.
According to Twiine, the recovered guns are set to be examined with the view of among other things establishing whether they have been used at any other murder cases that have been reported and scenes of crime examined by the investigators.
“And if the results of the examined guns come to be positive, then inevitably the suspects will be interrogated to establish their involvement in such vicious crimes,”he said.
The Police warned the culprits who are still at large to surrender the guns that are illegally in their possession and handover themselves, or else they risk being put out of action.
“We cannot afford to allow these criminals to keep terrorizing the community as well as poaching restricted wildlife species,”Twiine said.