Police in Marsabit have arrested five suspected poachers, among them three Ethiopians believed to be behind the killing of an elephant and its calf in Marsabit County.
Officers also found four tusks, an AK-47 rifle, 16 rounds of ammunition and five spent cartridges during the Thursday night raid after a tip-off from the public on Thursday night.
The two elephants were killed on May 1 in Jaldess.
“The suspects were arrested while preparing to ferry the tusks to an unknown destination,” said Marsabit Central police boss Mark Wanjala, adding that the firearm would be taken for ballistic examination to determine whether it had been used to commit other crimes in the region.
Marsabit County Commissioner Magu Mutindika said it was unfortunate the killings come after President Uhuru Kenyatta led conservationists in burning 105 tonnes of ivory in a renewed war against poaching and illegal trade in wildlife trophies.
Marsabit Governor Ukur Yattani said the number of elephants in the region had declined drastically due to poaching.
“We had over 1,000 elephants in the 1970s, including the famous Ahmed in Marsabit forest, but today due to poaching, they could be less than 20,” said the governor.
Kenya Wildlife Service Senior Warden Peter Lekeren said it was unfortunate that the county recorded the first case of elephant poaching after the burning of the ivory stockpile.
“We are asking the locals to report those behind poaching activities,” said Mr Lekeren.
The suspects will be taken to court on Monday.