Ministry of Tourism and Arts Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe has confirmed the arrest of three Chinese nationals and two Zambians who were found in illegal possession of 25 pieces of rhino horns weighing 32.2 Kilogrammes as reported by News Diggers! on Friday.
Kalembwe said in a statement that the three were arrested by a joint team of government investigators from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA).
He however did not reveal the names of the suspects but said they were nabbed at Chanida – a border post that links Zambia to Mozambique and that they will appear in court soon.
In a related development, the woman who was nabbed at OR Tambo International Airoport is said to have travelled from Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport to Hong Kong via Johannesburg where she was arrested and since appeared in court in South Africa.
“The Department of National Parks together with other security wings have contacted the South African Authorities to provide details of the suspect in order to carry out further investigations to establish how the luggage containing the rhino horn eluded security checks at the airport and establish source of the rhino horns,” said Kalembwe.
“And the Ministry wishes to assure the public that no rhinos have been poached in Zambia’s national parks nor had rhino horns stolen from government stockpiles as being reported by some sections of the social media story that featured on some online news outlets regarding the arrest of a Chinese woman at the OR Tambo Airport in South Africa for being in possession of 11 Rhino Horns which were found in her luggage.”