Operation Freshwater: UWCU Strikes Against Ivory Traffickers Reveals Corruption in Uganda’s Wildlife Trade

In a determined effort to combat illegal wildlife trafficking, the Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit (UWCU) orchestrated Operation Freshwater, a multi-agency law enforcement initiative that led to the apprehension of three suspects attempting to sell elephant ivory. The operation reached its climax in Kanungu, where the UWCU team, after engaging in negotiations with the traffickers, successfully intercepted the illegal sale of elephant ivory, transported to the scene by motorcycle. However, the significance of this operation extends beyond the arrests, as one of the detainees includes a government official, shedding light on the troubling involvement of individuals in positions of authority in the illicit wildlife trade.

The aftermath of the arrests took an unexpected turn as the UWCU team faced threats, necessitating their secure relocation to a protected location. This unsettling development underscores the challenges faced by those on the front lines of wildlife conservation, emphasizing the need for continued efforts to address corruption within the illegal wildlife trade in Uganda.

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