SENIOR STAFF WRITER
POLICE on Monday fired warning shots at a suspected gang of illegal ivory dealers who had 11 elephant tusks before arresting them in Arcadia, Harare.
The court heard that Joseph Mubaiwa, a soldier attached to Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks, was in the company of Ouidiance Rundofa, William Manager and Ruzvidzo Musekiwa driving a white Mercedes Benz at Danny Bismark Sports Club, Arcadia, when they were busted by the police.
They were denied bail when they appeared before Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro on charges of possessing 11 elephant tusks without a licence yesterday.
The case was remanded to February 24 and the four were advised to apply for bail at the High Court.
Prosecutor Owen Safuri alleged that on February 8, detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department Minerals Unit were tipped that there were four men who were in possession of ivory at Danny Bismark Sports Club driving a white Mercedes Benz.
They went to the scene and carried out surveillance before observing the Mercedes Benz in the car park.
Mubaiwa and Rundofa were showing Manager and Musekiwa elephant tusks in sacks.
The detectives closed in and blocked the Mercedes Benz shouting “police” and flashing their service identity cards.
However, Mubaiwa and his accomplices bolted out of the car and fled in different directions, prompting one of the detectives to fire four warning shots into the air, but the suspects did not stop.
Rundofa, Manager and Musekiwa were arrested while Mubaiwa escaped.
The detectives returned to the Mercedes Benz with the suspects and recovered 10 elephant tusks in the boot and one on the back seat.
Mubaiwa was later arrested and all the suspects were asked to produce their licences authorising possession of ivory, but failed to do so leading to their arrest.
The tusks were taken to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and it was confirmed to be raw unmarked ivory valued at US$12 480.