Africa

Ugandan officers intercept ‘baby' full of contraband

A smuggler pictured with the baby grow full of banned costmetics Image copyright Dicksons Kateshumbwa
Image caption The baby dummy was a passenger aboard a bus coming to Uganda from DR Congo

Ugandan officers have detained a smuggler passing off a baby grow full of banned cosmetics as a child.

The "baby" was intercepted aboard a bus at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda's customs commissioner tweeted.

"Some smugglers never cease to amuse!" Dicksons Kateshumbwa said in his post.

Tonnes of banned skin-lightening products get into Uganda every year, mostly through porous points along the border with DR Congo.

The cosmetics rarely come in bulk deliveries. Carriers, who earn about $1 (£0.80) per trip, bring them across the border box-by-box or sack-by-sack, reports the BBC's Uganda reporter Patience Atuhaire.

They often come concealed in sacks of green bananas, and even in plastic jerry cans with false bottoms that are cut and sewn up.

Mr Kateshumbwa was clearly delighted with the ingenuity of this latest smuggling attempt at the Mpondwe border post as he tweeted three photos of baby "dummy" stuffed with illegal cosmetics:

Most of the smuggled cosmetics tend to be skin-lightening creams that were banned in Uganda in 2016 because they contain mercury and hydroquinone, which some studies have linked to damaging health side-effects.

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Media caption'I almost died from skin-whitening creams'

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