Congo police arrest 3 men carrying 6 suitcases full of elephant ivory

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Police in southeastern Congo say they have arrested three men carrying six suitcases full of elephant tusks.

Anti-smuggling commission coordinator Placide Magungu said Tuesday the three Chinese nationals were caught at Lumumbashi's airport while trying to fly to Nairobi, Kenya. He says the men said they bought the ivory from antique dealers.

Illegal hunting of elephants in central and eastern Africa has intensified in recent years, with much of the ivory exported to Asia.

In August, police seized 116 elephant tusks and arrested two Congolese men in the country's northeast.

Poachers also have taken advantage of the fact Congo suffered through back-to-back civil wars, and the country's volatile east remains mired in armed conflict.