At least three people have been netted in the ongoing joint operation by the police, the army, and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) following the killing of six lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
No identities have been given but authorities have said that the prime suspect and two accomplices were arrested in the operation that started on Monday in Rusoroza parish, Kihihi sub-county, Kanungu district.
The three are suspected to have killed, by poisoning, six of Uganda’s tree-climbing lions that were found dead on Friday evening in Ishasha sector of the national park, and took away the beasts’ heads, feet, tails, hearts and livers.
The decomposing body parts were recovered on Tuesday in Tukundane village by a team that included Hajji Shafique Ssekandi, Kanungu Resident District Commissioner (RDC), his deputy, Gad Ahimbisibwe Rugaju, and Pontious Ezuma, the UWA warden for Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Decomposing heads were discovered under a mango tree and four others hang above on a mango tree branch while other body parts that were taken off the carcasses were found buried a few metres away.
The breakthrough came after UWA on Monday, announced a Shs 10 million reward to anybody with information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.
Ssekandi confirmed that the arrests were effected following a tip-off from one of the concerned locals. One of the suspects led security to Tukundane village in Rusoroza parish, Kihihi sub-county few metres away from his home, and, showed them where he had hidden the parts.
The prime suspect led security to recover a jerrycan of oil they had been squeezed from half-cooked lion intestines that they had prepared to sell to the buyer together with other parts.
According to local sources, the three suspects are hardened poachers who had clinched a deal of selling lion body parts at huge sums of money to a yet-to-be-identified buyer.