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South Sudan: More Than a Ton of Asia-Bound Ivory Seized

More than a ton of ivory was seized this week at the international airport in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, a local wildlife official said Friday.

The ivory was hidden in a consignment marked as “food” that arrived on an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Uganda, said Brig. Gen. Khamis Adieng Ding, spokesperson for the National Wildlife Service.

Ding said a Ugandan and a South Sudanese have been arrested over the illicit cargo, which was to be transported to Malaysia on an EgyptAir flight.

“We have arrested the accused, and we have opened a police case,” he said. “It’s now under investigation by the police, and the ivory is now in the ministry of wildlife and conservation and tourism in our stores.”

There was no immediate comment from wildlife officials in Uganda.

Lamine Sebogo of the conservation group WWF said the seizure “is a reminder of the scale of the ongoing poaching crisis” in Africa.

Animal conservationists say higher demand for ivory, especially in Asia, is fueling elephant killings by poachers.