Xinhua (China)

GABORONE, July 20 (Xinhua) — Botswana has denied media reports that the country’s spy agency is involved in illegal ivory trade.

The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism on Friday denied reports that Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) has been caught with a secret ivory stash.

“The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) has never carried out a sting operation on a DISS Camp. As such it is false and misleading that Department of Wildlife and National Parks Anti-poaching Unit uncovered a secret stash of elephant tusks,” said Thato Raphaka, permanent secretary in the ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism.

Raphaka said the Department of Wildlife and National Parks is aware of all ivory stored in temporary locations by security forces within Botswana and has arrangement to regularly collect such material from time to time.

“It may be further noted that security forces are involved in Anti-Poaching operations and regular patrols in line with their mandate,” Raphaka said.

Ministry said the reports are an attempt to give an impression that the DISS has been involved in Ivory smuggling.

Botswana has received international accolades for its anti-poaching efforts with its trademark, shoot to kill policy on poachers.