Two S. Sudan security officials arrested over sale pangolin

By Benedict Okethwengu

The suspects were arrested on Tuesday, trying to sell the mammal to a Ugandan Police officer attached to Amuru Police Post who disguised as a buyer.

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AMURU - Two top South Sudanese security officials have been arrested at Elegu Ugandan border post over sale of Pangolin worth sh30m. 
 
The suspects were arrested on Tuesday, trying to sell the mammal to a Ugandan Police officer attached to Amuru Police Post who disguised as a buyer.
 
The operation followed a week-long tracking of the shady dealings of the suspects by officials from the Natural Resources Conservation Network (NRCN).
 
The two have been identified as John Chol Malou Mayen, 42, a migration officer attached to Nimule in South Sudan and Lt Denus Arop Ochan Lotyang 38.
 
Sharon Okello, the NRCN public relations officer, told New Vision on Wednesday that the suspects were demanding for sh30m in exchange for the mammal.
 
Pangolins, sometimes called scaly anteaters, are small mammals that are covered in tough, overlapping scales.
 
Poaching and habitat loss have made these little creatures critically endangered in some parts of the world, according to Okello.
 
While countries voted to ban the international trade in all species of pangolins at the 2016 meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Okello notes that they continue to be targeted in the hundreds of thousands by wildlife traffickers for the Asian market for there meat, which is consumed as a delicacy and there scales, which are believed to have medicinal properties.
 
"Trade in pangolin parts is a truly global problem. The remarkable creatures are in danger across both Asia and Africa," she said.
 
Alfred Alumansi, the officer in charge of criminal investigations in Amuru district also confirmed the development.
 
He said the duo are currently being detained at Amuru Police Station, awaiting prosecution.
 
According to Okello, huge illegal shipments of pangolin come from Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
 
Earlier last year, Singapore seized a shipment of 14.2 tonnes of pangolin scales, equivalent to around 36,000 animals, that originated from Nigeria and was headed to Vietnam.