Police in Chirundu District have apprehended a driver from the Office of the Vice President who was illegally transporting 26 pieces of Elephant tasks in a government vehicle. Chirundu Police Officer in Charge James Muluwa who confirmed the arrest of the driver to ZANIS however refused to give further details in the matter and referred all queries to the Police Public Relations office in Lusaka.
But police sources who executed the arrest told ZANIS in Siavonga this morning that Traffic Police Officers manning the road block at Siavonga – Chirundu road junction intercepted the driver from the Vice President’s office around 01 hours this morning after he failed to explain where he was taking the government trophy that was in his possession. The sources named the driver as Benny Phiri who was driving a Government vehicle registration number GRZ 306 BS and that was carrying 26 pieces of ivory.
They said Mr Phiri who was driving from Chirundu to Lusaka with the elephant tasks was in a company of Stanley Katadika a resident of Kuku compound and Jack Chiliba of Chipata Compound both of Lusaka. And Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) officials based in Chirundu who were interviewed by ZANIS in connection with the arrest who declined to be named said the 26 pieces of ivory found in possession of the three men interpreted that a total of 13 elephants had been killed.
The ZAWA officials suspected that the elephants could have been killed by poachers in either the Lower Zambezi River or the Chiawa Game Management Area where they said poaching has reached alarming levels.