DCI officer arrested in Nairobi while transporting ivory worth Sh300,000 (Kenya)


Cyrus Ombati, Standard Media

Date Published

A policeman and two civilians have been arrested while transporting elephant tusks valued at Sh300,000.  

The officer attached to Mlolongo DCI office in Athi River, Machakos County and the two civilians were arrested by Kenya Wildlife Service officers who had been tipped off on Monday evening. The police officer had been moved to Cheptais DCI office in recent changes. Officials said the suspect was moving the eight kilos of the ivory when he was nabbed. He and his colleagues had apparently arrested suspects with the ivory and decided to hide them in his house. “When he was moved to Cheptais, he decided to move with the ivory,” said a police officer aware of the probe.

The three were expected to be charged with possession and trafficking of ivory. It is not the first time that a police officer is arrested. Last year, an officer attached to Industrial Area Police Station in Nairobi, was arrested as he and his accomplices transported rhino horns valued at Sh1.2 million. Poaching in the region is on the rise as armed criminal gangs kill elephants for tusks and rhinos for horns, which are usually shipped to Asia. As part of efforts to stop the crime, Kenya has started using high-tech surveillance equipment including drones to track poaching gangs and keep tabs on elephants and rhinos.

Parliament has also passed strict anti- poaching laws and the government has beefed up security at parks to stop poaching, which threatens the vital tourism industry. Regionally, Kenya has also emerged as a major transit route for ivory destined for Asian markets from eastern and central Africa. The illegal ivory trade is mostly fueled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and traditional medicines.

In South Africa, North Korean diplomats were detained for trafficking rhino horns last year.