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A 43-year-old Mozambican man, who reportedly worked in the commercial sector, has been incarcerated in Beira, Sofala province, since February, after allegedly being caught in possession of six elephant tusks weighing 81.5 kilograms hidden in sacks of corn bran.
Joaquim Tomo, a spokesman for the provincial prosecutor’s office in Sofala, told reporters on Tuesday that the accused had been detained at the Chupanga administrative post in Marromeu district, from where he was transferred to the city of Beira.
The origin of the tusks, of which two form a pair 1.70 metres long and 12 centimetres across, is unknown. Two of the other tusks are 1.40 metres long and 10 centimetre in diameter each.
Tomo said the man was suspected of belonging to a poaching gang, and said the tusks were definitely “the result of poaching”. The man will appear before a judge in April to respond to the charges.
In 2016, parliament approved an amendment to the Law on the Protection, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity (Law No. 16/2014 of 16 June), determining that anyone who illegally extracts forest and wildlife resources, or sells, distributes, purchases, hands, receives, provides to another person, transports, imports, exports, transits or illicitly owns animals, protected or prohibited, can be subject to penalties ranging from 12 to 16 years in prison.