By CHILA NAMAIKO -
THIEVES have broken into one of the high security rooms at the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) regional office in Livingstone and stolen more than 30 pieces of ivory tusks worth about K1 million.
Three ZAWA officers at the station and five other people, among them a local taxi driver allegedly used to ferry the valuable commodity, have been arrested by police.
Two other people, who are believed to be master-minds of the theft, are on the run with 14 more pieces of ivory also missing, while 17 pieces have been recovered by police.
Southern Province Police Chief, Mary Chikwanda, confirmed the incident in an interview yesterday.
Ms Chikwanda said 31 pieces of Ivory tusks were stolen from a strong room at the ZAWA regional offices in Livingstone.
She said, the incident which happened on Thursday last week around mid-night, was reported to police by area ZAWA senior wildlife officer Bonov Kachali.
She said the thieves gained entry into the exhibit room, which contained the ivory tusks, after breaking the main door and stole the 31 pieces of the high value commodity.
“31 pieces of ivory tusks worthy K945, 000 were stolen from the ZAWA exhibit room but we have managed to recover 17 pieces while the remaining 14 pieces are still missing.
“These ivory tusks were in the exhibit room for a case which is in court,” she said.
She said the criminals broke the main door to the room and the same entrance was used as an exit after stealing the exhibits.
Ms Chikwanda said police arrested three ZAWA officers and five other people among them a taxi driver involved in the robbery, but she withheld the names.
She said a total of 10 people were involved in the robbery of the ivory tusks and that eight were arrested while two others are on the run.