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JUBA - 24 Jan 2023

South Sudan seizes 5 tons of game meat in Eastern Equatoria State

A display of the seized game meat in Juba on 23 January 2023. [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]
A display of the seized game meat in Juba on 23 January 2023. [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]

The South Sudan Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism has seized more than five tons of game meat and apprehended tens of suspected poachers over the weekend in Eastern Equatoria State. 

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Minister Rizik Zacharia Hassan condemned the illegal poaching, saying it hurts the country's economy. 

"This is a huge quantity of meat and if you try to convert it to animals, it is more than 100 heads of different species of animals which are considered to be a very big destruction to the South Sudan resources," Minister Rizik said. 

"This is unacceptable and we are going to go ahead with all the legal procedures. It is now the court to differentiate between A and Z. There is no compromise and nobody will stop us because we are working according to the laws of South Sudan," he added.

The minister also said the commissioner of Lafon County and other members of the organized forces were among those arrested. 

"Unfortunately, the commissioner is convicted among the others but it is now the court that will differentiate between the constitutional post holders and the other suspects. The suspects here some of them are from the organized forces and some from the SSPDF," he added.

Meanwhile, the commissioner of Lafon County, Okach Mangisto Agueri said he was arrested while traveling by public transport. 

"My journey has been a coincidence that we used a public car because it is not a government car and you know public cars are business oriented. So, we happened to be in one car," he said. 

He also apologized for the illegal poaching happening in his jurisdiction and called on the people of Lafon to cease the practice. 

Colonel John Adio Chol, the commander of the Wildlife Unit who seized the game meat, confirmed that they seized 70 bags of game meat and arrested 95 people. 

However, he said only 38 suspects remain in custody as the rest were investigated and found to be fishermen. 

Khamis Adeng, the Director General of the Wildlife Forces, explained that the government will take all legal measures to prosecute those involved.

South Sudan has six national parks and more than 10 game reserves covering more than 13 percent of the country’s terrain. However, due to instability, illegal poaching is widespread in the country.