Zimbabwe National Parks security details opened fire as they raided ivory dealers in Harare, the Zim Morning Post can reveal.
Sources told this publication that the dealers were raided in Harare late Monday at a hideout along Harare Drive.
“Five men were in the house when the ZimParks security details arrived at the scene. But before they could enter the house four armed men arrived and told the Parks officials that they are members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID),” said the source.
“The four guys produced their identification cards and told the Parks officers to leave the scene.
“The Parks officers were not convinced as they had intelligence that ivory dealers were in the house so they raised an alarm seeking reinforcement which quickly responded.
“The reinforcers fired warning shots and apprehended the bogus police details.
“While drama was unfolding outside four men who were holed inside the house stormed out and jumped the durawall.
“The fifth one who had a sack containing three tusks failed to jump and was arrested.”
The source said three tusks of ivory weighing 12kg were recovered while a police report was made at Mt Pleasant Police station.
“The recovered tusks have Parks numbers suggesting that the ivory was looted from the ZimParks.”
Police spokesperson Assistant commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrest.
“I have just received snippets of the arrest but more details will be availed tomorrow,” Nyathi said.
The raid comes at a time when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) is to give a verdict this week whether to allow Zimbabwe to dispose of its ivory.
A high-powered delegation from Zimbabwe has joined fellow Southern African Development Community (SADC) delegates in Geneva, Switzerland, where they seek to have countries with high elephant populations allowed to exercise various management methods which include trophy hunting, culling and sale of ivory.
Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Acting Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu is also expected to leave for Geneva as some countries in the regional grouping which are struggling to maintain huge elephant populations in a sustainable way want their collective voice to be heard at the Cites summit.