Malawi detains Gambian for ivory smuggling

Malawi detains Gambian for ivory smuggling

Authorities in Malawi have arrested a Gambian national allegedly connected to smuggling of 661 pounds of ivory tusk from the southeastern African country to Thailand.

Madi Conteh, 34, was arrested at the Kamuzu Banda International Airport and had been on a list of those wanted by Interpol.

Malawian authorities say Conteh had been smuggling the ivory using an Ethiopian airline flight from Lilongwe to Beijing.

At least 200 elephants are suspected to have been killed by poachers to have the 661 pounds (300 kilograms) of the ivory tusk.

Conteh is the second Gambian arrested this year for links to the illegal ivory trade.

Thailand arrested 41-year-old Gambian, Sainey Jagne, for attempted smuggling of 422 pieces of elephant tusks.

Jagne was indicted for violating customs and wildlife protection laws in the Southeast Asian nation.

Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika said his government is aware that the world is heading towards a wildlife crisis and stepped up its crackdown on poachers.

In Malawi alone, experts say the elephant population has drastically declined from 4,000 in the 1980s to 2,000.

Authorities say wildlife crime is not just a conservation matter, rather it is a security, economic, as well as community livelihood issue.

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