CHOMBA MUSIKA, Lusaka
THE Department of National Parks and Wildlife has arrested three Chinese and two Zambians for alleged illegal possession of 25 rhino horns
weighing 32.2 kilogrammes.
Ministry of Tourism and Arts public relations officer Sakabilo Kalembwe said in a statement yesterday that the suspects were apprehended at Chanida border post recently.
Mr Kalembwe said the suspects, who were detained with the help of Zambia Revenue Authority officers, will appear in court soon.
“The ministry wishes to assure the public that no rhinos have been poached in Zambia’s national parks nor had rhino horns been stolen from government stockpiles as being reported by some sections of social media.
“This is in relation to a story on some online news outlets regarding the arrest of a Chinese woman at OR Tambo Airport in South Africa for being in possession of 11 rhino horns which were found in her luggage,” he said.
The woman who was arrested at OR Tambo Airport recently is reported to have been travelling to Hong Kong from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport via Johannesburg where she was detained and appeared in court in South Africa.
Mr Kalembwe said the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and other security wings have contacted South African authorities to provide details of the suspect so that further investigations can be done to establish how the luggage containing rhino horns passed through security checks at the airport in Lusaka.
The security agencies also want to know the source of the rhino horns.