(2015-11-11) The Mozambican police have arrested a Vietnamese citizen in Maputo International Airport in possession of 14 pieces of rhinoceros horn.
The spokesperson for the Maputo City Police Command, Orlando Mudumane, told reporters that the Vietnamese, whose name was not revealed, was also carrying 59 lion claws and 49 teeth believed to be lion teeth.
“Currently investigations are under way to find out where these items came from”, said Mudumane, in his weekly press briefing. “It means that animals have been slaughtered”.
Data provided by the government spokesperson, Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide, after last week’s session of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) showed that the police arrested 434 poachers in 2014-15, and seized 75 kilos of rhino horn.
There has been a dramatic increase in the poaching of rhinoceros in southern Africa since 2008, driven by a demand for rhino horn from Asia, and particularly from Vietnam, were it is regarded as a cure for all manner of ailments, including cancer. This has driven the price of rhino horn up to about 60,000 US dollars a kilo – making it more expensive than gold or cocaine.
Since both African species of rhinoceros, the black and the white, are believed to be extinct in Mozambique, the rhino horn seized at the airport almost certainly came from animals killed in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
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