Tuesday, April 21, 2015


The Mozambican police last week, in two separate incidents seized 5.6 kilos of rhinoceros horn that was being illegally exported out of the country through Maputo International Airport.According to Maputo City police spokesperson, Orlando Mudumane, the first 3.8 kilos was seized on 13 April. It was in the possession of three Vietnamese citizens. A further 1.8 kilos, which a Vietnamese woman was trying to take out of the country, was seized on 18 April.
All four Vietnamese are currently being held in cells at the airport police station.
These seizures again confirm that Maputo airport is a key part of the route used by traffickers to move horns of rhinos slaughtered in South Africa’s Kruger National Park to the consuming countries in Asia, notably Vietnam.Rhino horn is now worth more than the equivalent weight of gold or cocaine. A recent estimate puts the price of rhino horn at 60,000 US dollars a kilo. A kilo of gold currently costs about 38,500 dollars, and a kilo of cocaine in New York will fetch up to 35,500 dollars.The horn is believed to have miraculous powers which can cure everything from hangovers to cancer. In fact, rhino horn consist of keratin, the same substance from which human hair and fingernails are made.
Madumane also said that on 13 April the police had found an abandoned suitcase in the airport containing 1.4 kilos of the drug ephedrine, which can be used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine. The owner of the suitcase could not be located, and the ephedrine was sent o a criminal investigations laboratory.Madumane announced that yet another kidnapping occurred last Thursday, in the Aeroporto neighbourhood of the capital. The victim was a 72 year old citizen of Sierra Leone, who has been resident in Mozambique for many years.He owns a warehouse where second hand clothing is stored. The kidnappers burst into the warehouse at about 16.00 on Thursday, and abducted him.

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