Tanzanian police seize more than 200 elephant tusk pieces

DODOMA, TANZANIA (BNO NEWS) -- Police in Tanzania confiscated more than 200 elephant tusk pieces this week, nearly two weeks after custom authorities in Hong Kong seized a container full of illegal ivory tusks from the African country, Tanzanian officials said on Wednesday.

The discovery was made on early Monday morning in Dar es Salaam, the country's largest city, and represents one of the biggest seizures of its kind in the city in recent years. Information from local citizens also led police to four suspects, including two Kenyans, who were taken into custody.

A police spokesman, announcing the seizure on Wednesday, said 214 elephant tusks, 10 cow horns and five elephant bones were hidden inside a coffin and fertilizer bags. It is believed the suspects had planned to take the illegal ivory in a vehicle to neighboring Kenya, though the end destination is not known.

The tusks, weighing approximately 450 kilogram (992 pounds), are estimated to be worth around 2.1 billion shillings ($1.32 million).

Earlier this month, custom authorities in Hong Kong confiscated more than 1,200 pieces of ivory tusks, making it the region's largest ever seizure of products from endangered species. The illegal ivory was being smuggled in two containers, one container from Tanzania containing 972 pieces of raw ivory tusks and a container from Kenya containing 237 pieces.

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